Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

Obviously Born to Dance, Derek and Julianne Hough Dazzled at DPAC Yesterday with “Move Live on Tour”

Superstar siblings Julianne and Derek Hough will perform "Move Live on Tour" twice on Sunday

Superstar siblings Julianne and Derek Hough will perform “Move Live on Tour” twice on Sunday (photo © 2014 Move Live on Tour)

Fans of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (DWTS) packed the Durham Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 29th, to see two of the show’s professional ballroom dancers, siblings Derek Hough and Julianne Hough, do their thing in Move Live on Tour. Joined by 10 backup dancers, the pair, who have been ballroom dancing since they were children, presented a 90-minute dance show that had a definite rock concert vibe, including a Technicolor light show, high-decibel music, and lots of audience interaction.

Move Live was choreographed, produced, and co-created by the Hough siblings, who collaborated with Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (listed as co-creators and directors), a husband-and-wife choreography team also known as Nappytabs. The duo are regular choreographers for Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and have also provided choreography for Cirque du Soleil, Madonna, Celine Dion, and others.

The high-energy show began with an opening sequence that swung between hip-hop and cha-cha dancing, with the brother-sister duo shifting from partner dancing with each other to fronting the back-up dancers in group sequences. A section danced to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” drew enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Although they primarily shared the stage during the concert, Derek and Julianne each took several solo turns, with support from the backup dancers. I was pleased to see them paired with other dancers for several duets, especially since I’ve always thought sexy dances like the rhumba are a little strange when danced with one’s brother or sister. (Unfortunately, the rhumba Derek did with backup dancer Brittany Cherry was less than sizzling. Although technically impressive, the chemistry simply wasn’t there, the blame for which rests solely with Ms. Cherry, who was playing to the audience but not relating to Hough at all.)

Julianne, who added recording artist to her resume several years ago with the release of a country music album, sang a song she had written. She was joined by Derek on “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” and “Say Something, I’m Giving Up on You.” Julianne has the stronger voice, but Derek holds his own, and they sounded good together.

Both siblings came down into the audience during the performance. Derek danced with a couple of audience members (including a little girl around age 10). Julianne brought three male audience members onstage to dance and held a mock competition in which the audience “voted” by cheering which one they liked best.

The choreography touched on and blended a wide range of styles: hip-hop, cha-cha, quick step, contemporary, paso doble, samba, country line dancing, jive, jitterbug, rhumba, and more. The music was just as varied: Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Joe Cuba’s “Bang Bang,” Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally,” Pitt Bull’s “Move, Shake, Drop,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls o’ Fire,” to name just a few. In Move Live, the Hough siblings demonstrated clearly why they’ve not only become favorites on DWTS, but have also taken the show’s mirror-ball trophy seven times (Derek five times; Julianne — who left the show several years ago — two).

In addition to the pleasure of seeing the Hough siblings perform live, I also enjoyed seeing several former contestants from “So You Think You Can Dance” among the backup dancers. Brittany Cherry (Season 10) was joined by Hayley Erbert (Season 10), Jason Glover (Season 5), and Paul Karmiryan (Season 10).

While there was a lot of hip action and lots of sexy moves throughout, the performance was pretty PG and was for the most part just good, clean fun. The brother and sister come across as genuinely nice people who genuinely love what they do. They were obviously born to dance, and they both stand out, even among other ballroom professionals. Each has garnered attention not only for their dancing ability, but also for their creative and often innovative choreography on the show. It seems only natural that they would take their act on the road; and if the matinee performance in Durham (which was an add-on because the originally scheduled evening show sold out so quickly) is any indication, they should have a very successful tour.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the June 24th Triangle Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click

MOVE LIVE ON TOUR, starring Julianne Hough and Derek Hough (The Durham Performing Arts Center, June 29 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District).

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Move Live on Tour (2014 dance production): (official website), (Facebook page), and (Twitter page).

Julianne Hough (Orem, UT-born Nashville, TN professional dancer and actress): (official website), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), (Internet Movie Database), and (Wikipedia).

Derek Hough (Salt Lake City, UT-born Los Angeles, CA professional dancer and choreographer): (official website), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), (Internet Movie Database), and (Wikipedia).



Viki Atkinson danced professionally in musical theater for a number of years and later shifted her focus to choreographing for theater. Locally, she danced in the North Carolina Theatre productions of Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Oklahoma!, and West Side Story. Additional performance credits include Kathy in Company, Peggy in Godspell, and the title role in Gypsy. Later, Atkinson lent her dance expertise to Spectator Magazine, serving as chief dance critic from 1987 to 1999. She also holds a degree in Dance Education from UNC-Greensboro; and she has taught extensively in a variety of settings, including Meredith College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School (Petersburg, VA), and the School of Richmond Ballet. She was also on the faculty of the Raleigh School of Ballet for 10 years and directed the dance program at Martin Middle School for four years. Viki Atkinson recently returned to Raleigh after living in Richmond for six years, and is thrilled to be back in North Carolina! To read more of Viki Atkinson’s Triangle Review reviews, click here. To read more of her CVNC reviews, click here.


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