Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Thoughts on Derek Hough

This number alone should win him the Emmy

I have always maintained that I believe that Derek Hough is going to be one of the defining choreographers of his generation. I don't take that statement lightly. As someone who has been a student of dance history, think of the names you would put in that category: George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Martha Graham. There are more, but it's not a list of thousands or even hundreds. I don't say that about any other pro on the show.

With a statement like that, it should be understood that you also have to be a great dancer and teacher in order to be classified as a "defining choreographer of a generation." You can't just be one thing.

On AfterBuzz TV this week, we were talking about Val and Derek and their strengths. If I am going to pick the one quality that makes Derek stand out on the show...yep, it's choreography. For Val, it's teaching. Does it mean they don't have the other qualities? Nope.

We are a show about dance, talking about dancers and why we love it so much. We give opinions that you won't always agree with, but the one thing we all agree upon is that we love dance. I'm one of the hosts of the show and as a part of my job, I have to balance my love for Derek's work with my appreciation and support for what other pros on DWTS bring to the table.

Come Sunday, I hope it's Derek who is holding that Emmy.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. I will respond to all comments here, but I'm going to keep the debate off of Twitter. Thanks, guys!  See you next week with our guest Henry Byalikov...who is also choreographing this week's opening number on DWTS with Sharna Burgess.


  1. I love watching AfterBuzz and hearing everyone's opinion about the show. I know a lot of people complain that Derek always gets the good partners, but one thing to keep in mind is that sometimes those celebrities ask to have him as their partner. Nicole Scherzinger said she wanted Derek to be her partner after seeing his futuristic paso doble with Joanna Krupa (I found this out after watching the DWTS Top Ten Dances Countdown). I believe Jennifer Grey also wanted Derek to be her partner. I'm sure the producers give Derek partners with the intention of keeping him around because of his choreography. However, I hate the DWTS fans out there (mainly from the Maks and Val camp) that make Derek out to be this "golden boy" when it's not as if he has much of a say in which celebrity he gets.

    I appreciate you mentioning the fact that other pros like Val are getting good contestants as well. Maks has had Mel B and Brandy. Val has now had Zendaya and Elizabeth. Anna had Evan Lysacek. Mark and Louis both had Sabrina Bryan at one point. Mark also had Kristi Yamaguchi. Tony has had Stacy Keibler. My point is that other pros have at one point had good celebrities too, not just Derek. Yet, because Derek has won 4 out of the 11 seasons he has been on the show, some fans make him out to be this evil figure. Despite the hate Derek gets, he is still one of the more popular pros on the show. I was wondering how much the pro fan base influences the voting for their celebrity as well.

    Anyway, I appreciate the fact that you want to focus on ALL the pros on the show and not just Derek. I'm on the east coast and always stay up late to listen to AfterBuzz. I also hope Derek wins the Emmy this Sunday.

    1. Thanks for staying up so late. We really appreciate our East Coast viewers. :)

      All four of us on the show have to walk a delicate balance each week. We all have our favorites, some of us are friends with certain pros/troupe members and we know that they hear what we say...even if they don't watch that week's episode.

      There are fans who love Derek and Mark and then there are fans who love the Chmerkovskiy brothers....and there are a ton of other pros to love like Peta, Sharna,Tristan, Karina, etc. The one thing I love about this season is that there are so many celebs with have movement training. There is more of an opportunity for the pros to do more with their choreography this season and make it to the finals. Derek will have to keep Amber's momentum going. Val will have to build Elizabeth's confidence. Mark will have to do the same with Christina. Sasha has to the potential to do a lot with Snooki. Karina and Corbin are a well-matched and talented pair.

      So many possibilities for this season....and that's why I want to talk more about choreography and what the pros are doing. If there is any season to shine...this is it.

      Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate it :)

  2. I know this is a question you probably don't want to hear but Derek Hough being so great at what he does I often wonder if he teaches dance or is he willing to coach someone? I often say that if I could have a teacher like him I would be dancing way better, of course I would love to be taught ballet by someone with his smarts but I also consider learning other dances I would love to learn the Waltz Paso and Tango Modern ect.. Sorry for this question I just believe that who ever is so lucky like the stars of DWTS to take classes with him will forever more hold this experience like something so incredible. I must add I'm very exited to have heard that he will be collaborating with Misty Copeland. It would be a dream to one day take classes with him that said I wish him Good Luck on the Emmy nomination and hope to see more of his talent God Bless

    1. Hi Ivy!
      I am not sure about Derek teaching classes. Is there any room left in his schedule? :) Although, I am sure it is something he has done in the past as he was making his way up in Hollywood. I do know that a lot of the other pros teach around the country. I was just talking with Anna about her classes and private lessons the other day.
      I'm sure a lot of us would like to take ANY class with him. LOL...first though, I need to stop leading on the dance floor. It drives my boyfriend nuts!
      :) Kristyn

    2. LOL thanks for the reply it was very kind God Bless and good luck to him

  3. Hey Kristyn! It was me that made the comment about the contemporary and the comment about Derek and teaching. Hope I didn't cause any controversy. I wasn't trying to. Just typing what I was thinking out loud about the way I view Derek and other pros. I agree with y'all (sorry i'm southern) most of the time. thanks for the response. I hope I didn't make it seem like an attack against you or the rest of the team on Afterbuzz or anything. I just looked at youtube and it got pretty definitely wasn't my intention.

    1. Look what you started! LOL

      I don't expect everyone to agree with me...and they shouldn't. It's art, we all have our own opinions. However, I think the discussion spun out of control when people suddenly thought I hated Derek and then the attacks were then aimed at me. I have a really thick skin, but I think understanding that we were only talking about one aspect of each pro is key to this discussion.

      It shouldn't be interpreted that I don't think Derek is a good teacher or that Val can't do choreography. To continually appear on DWTS as a pro, you have to be a good choreographer, dancer, teacher and maintain a fan's why Derek, Val, Tony, Maks, Mark, Cheryl, Karina, etc are asked back to the show every season. It's not easy to do.

      I love a good debate, but not when it turns personal. It's mean and uncalled for and I won't be a part of it because being nice feels way better than being mean. :)

      Thank you for commenting. Let's see what controversy we can stir up next week, my friend! (I'm kidding!)

    2. It's crazy how everyone can hear, see, and/or read something different into things and then blow them out of proportion! It amazes me how mean people can get when they are in an environment that is pretty much anonymous.

      I agree that Val's strengh is his teaching & parntering. On your show, several of the troupe members & pros have mentioned that Val is a great teacher & takes really good care of his parnters. With choregraphy, I think he tends to come up with routines that are more technical vs. artful. Len has commented several times on certain steps that Val has included. However, I think he is growing and I'm excited to see what he comes up with for Elizabeth.

    3. The reason I always point out Val's teaching ability is because of Kelly Monaco. Even though she won Season 1, she was a much better dancer in Season 15 with Val. I should post two side-by-side dances with Kelly from both seasons. Dramatic difference. I loved what he did with Zendaya last season...and I can't wait to see what he does with Elizabeth this season. She already has that movement foundation, so I want to see him build on that.

    4. Yeah people read a lot more into that than I expected. I actually agreed with you about Val...that's the crazy part. I don't know why people took it there. I certainly didn't think that was what you were Anyway...looking forward to next week. It sounds like everyone is doing ballroom so it should be interesting to see who shines the most that night. I really feel like they all have potential! Should be exciting!

    5. Yes, it's going to be a great week, so let's get back to talking about dance! Phew...this was a tiring day. ;)

  4. Hey!
    It is hard to understand why there is so much hate in the world or around dwts or around certain pros. From the begining I would like to say thank you for your support for Derek and dwts. It's not easy to be neutral as a host or as a reporter.
    But the fact is that even you saw that there are fans from the "Maks and Val family & etc" that are always attacking Derek in a way or another. As a fan of dwts and your show I feel offended when I see that level of disrespect. When someone says now that Derek always gets the better partner it starts to create a certain drama because we heard that every single season! OK, did someone asked how much work Derek was putting in to create choreography for Jennifer Grey?(she was injured and look how great she did! – it’s not just her work, it is Derek’s work as well), was Ricki Lake the best dancer from the begining?NO…she worked hard with Derek and became an outstanding dancer full of confidence and etc. There are stars who asked for Derek, and to be honest with you, who wouldn’t? But I think people forget the amount of work that Derek is doing. His level is clearly higher, and I do not want to be disrespectful with the rest of the pros; all of them have talent, but Derek is doing an outstanding job with his choreography and look how he manages to create confidence for his partners! He has that spark and he is even managing to give me trust as well!
    We all feel inspired by his work, talent, personality…but most of it by his pure heart. He is an example for all of us…so YES, we might feel sensitive when we hear again that “Derek has a better partner”. Thank you for saying that Val also had good partners for some seasons in a row. If we think deeper Maks also had his opportunity. Just think that you are the producer of dwts and you give a good dancing partner to any of the pros, and then you see that they are not coming out with choreography…what will you do? You will keep that in mind for the next seasons.
    The difference between us, Derek’s fans, and other fans is that we respect all the other pros. We admire their work because we understand that they work every single day, and they are human, they are allowed to make mistakes. But it’s not easy to see when someone is rude, when someone is not respecting their fellow pro, when someone is always attacking Derek…for what? because he has talent? because he knows what to do with his talent? Because he is innovative? Because he knows how to create choreography? And I can go on. It is hurtful for us, his fans, as well to hear that he is attacked or that at the beginning of every new season some media is saying that AGAIN he has a better partner. We’ve put our trust in dwts because of DEREK, we are always going to support the show because DEREK showed us that “YES, you can be in a competition, but you have to remember to have fun; you have to respect your producers because they work even during the night for you; you have to respect the judges; you have to respect your fans, and you have to respect your fellow pro” – he does all of that and even more.
    Yes, you always showed Derek an amazing support and we are thankful that you named him a/the DEFINING CHOREOGRAPHER OF HIS GENERATION. I do hope that some fans of other pros and some other media (not your case:) )will read this and will give Derek a break. They should talk about how he manages to inspire confidence so quickly, how hard he is working with his partner, how is he managing to create choreography with so many different stars and personalities (that it is not easy), how he managed to win the viewer’s hearts from the beginning, and how we will always support him (isn’t that a question mark?).
    Thank you again for your support of dwts,Derek and all the other pros. Some media should be inspired by your positive comments.

    1. is so hard to walk a fine line in my job. I've been hard on Derek before, I've been hard on Val before. Why? Because I see their talent. It's a fun little rivalry, but it certainly shouldn't go to the ridiculously mean extents that it does. There are going to be weeks that Val shines or Derek or Karina or some of the newer pros. That's why we watch the show.

      I just want an awesome season of DWTS. If episode 1 was any indication, we are in for a treat this year!

      Thanks for your input, Alexandra. :)

  5. Kristyn

    Love your show. One of the main reasons is because it's not the Derek show or the Maks vs. Derek show or the Mark show or the Val show or....whatever. Do not get derailed this season! I love that the focus is on the dancing. I love watching the show and talking about it with my fellow viewers.

    Sometimes you guys don't agree but everyone's opinion is respected. I wish everyone would get on board with that. As a fan of the show it has become increasingly difficult to deal with some (not all) over zealous Derek fans. My personal opinion is that he is an excellent choreographer. I think he deserves that Emmy. And I hope he get's it. He's had some of the most memorable routines on the show. He's had some truly unique approaches to theme's and concepts for his routines. I am most certain that celebs request him as pro.

    I can say all of that but for some reason get attacked if ALSO feel that: some (not all) of his partners came to the table with dance ability. Which I think allowed him to really push the choreography. I ALSO think that other pros have had their share of "contenders" as well. When the celeb is lacking in dance ability he is very good at hiding that. When a celeb doesn't have the greatest footwork it's smart to focus on the upper body movements, focus on other strengths or just limit footwork. That's smart choreography.

    I think Mark is great too. When he is in creative choreo mode (and his partner is able) he comes up with some very cool stuff too.

    I think Val has come into his own. I think he is a superb dancer. He is one graceful man! In all the years watching the show I've been motivated to try and see Val dance professionally with a partner....he's that good. I think he deserves credit for stepping up his choreo (when his partner is able) and putting out some great routines. I agree with you Kristyn that he creates a great emotional bond with his partners that shows in their dancing.

    I think all the pros are amazing because I could never come anywhere close to what they do. They are gifted. I love them all. Sometimes I like/love/or hate routines from each of the pros. I think that is normal and that no one is above critique.

    End Rant. Sigh. Feels good to get that off my chest. I've gone to enough boards/websites where the back and forth debate is exhausting....Good grief folks..enjoy the AMAZING dancing!

    1. No derailing, I promise!!

      You make a great point...NO ONE is above critique. I love it when Len gets on Derek sometimes because I know Derek gets mad and then he comes up with some crazy awesome routine the next week. It happened all of the time during the All-Star season with Shawn Johnson.

      I love it when a pro takes some with very little ability....Sharna and Andy Dick come to mind...and make the celeb the story of the season. We have so many stories this season, my head is going to explode! It's great.

      So let's get back to our regularly scheduled program and watch some great dancing.....and hopefully a Hough Emmy win. ;)

  6. Derek deserves to win this year, and I guess this is the year that the entire world (of course those who don't know him yet) will know and never forget about Mr Derek Masterpiece Hough! He'll tattoo his amazing talent on everybody's mind.

    It seems we're cheering for the same choreography to win. Plus, with the other 2 with Shawn Johnson running together, I think it'll make the All-Star season worth something.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed though.

    Bliss & Blessings from Brazil!!!

  7. Kristyn, I think you and the panel do a great job of examining the good, the, bad and the ugly of each show without bias. Of course, you may have your favorites, everyone does, but that doesn't stop you from appreciating the good performances of everyone. I've been a fan of Derek's choreography since I started watching DWTS in season 11. I've been amazed by his style, his teaching ability, and his creativity. I also believe he deserves the Emmy on Sunday, but that doesn't keep me from admiring all the other pros and the journey their celebs are taking. Such an insane amount of talent! It has turned this 63 year old grandmother into a dance fan...and now my two granddaughters, age 6 & 8, love it also. So keep up the good work! I really enjoy watching AfterBuzz.


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