To Derek Hough, dancing is great, even if you’re not a great dancer.
“For me, it’s all about high energy and putting on a rock concert for dance,” Said Hough, a six-time “Dancing With the Stars” champion and Emmy Award-winning choreographer on the show. “Dancing is primal. It’s in our DNA. When you put a toddler on the ground, they start bobbing and moving their shoulders.
“When you get older, you become self-conscious, but I want to inspire people to just move and that they do not need to be a trained dancer to have fun.”
Hough is headlining an residency show, “No Limit,” at Flamingo Showroom for select dates beginning 7 p.m. June 2 and running through Nov. 7. Hough show runs prior to the just-opened “Ru Paul’s Drag Race Live!” Ticket start at $59 (not including fees), and go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com/DerekHoughVegas or at any Caesars Entertainment box office.
Dancing is clearly Hough’s passion, and has created a touring show with an octet of backing dancers that performed at the Smith Center last May. At Flamingo, he says, “We want to really fill out that room, make the whole room a stage and encourage the audience to get up and dance.”
Hough adage is meant to motivate: “Dancing is free and liberating,” he says. “I really believe that motion equals e-motion.”
Hough is producing a series of production number covering the full range of dance styles.
“We’ll have a series of Motown, Latin, ballroom, contemporary, tap, nostalgic-throwback numbers, and everything in between,” he says. “We will cover the spectrum. It will be nonstop dancing and a full night out.”
Hough’s is not expressly a dance, show, though. In an age where such a production could easily be staged with backing tracks, he’s bringing a full band to the stage.
“I am adamant about having live musicians,” Hough says. “When I go to concerts, there nothing like a feeling a real kick drum in your chest, or sax player ripping an amazing solo. Live percussion — you can’t replicate that unless it’s live.”
Invoking musicians in the show creates the possibility that the show’s timing could be thrown off — Hough can stop and re-start the performance anytime. That’s the point.
“It’s actually a lot more fun to be able to go off the cuff,” says Hough, who can also play piano, guitar and drums. “I can say to the drummer, ‘Let’s go again,’ and as I’ve toured with musicians, there have been a handful of times where we kind of went off a little bit. But I love the unpredictability the freedom of interacting.”
Hough’s similarly famous and passionate dancing younger sister, Julianne, attended Las Vegas Academy (Derek Hough did not live in Las Vegas; he was trained in dance in London). His shows are designed to touch all ages.
“I really love meeting fans after the show and having a 7-year-old say, ‘That was really cool,’ and right after that to have an 80-year-old say the same thing,” Hough says. “We want to tailor a show to reach a wide variety of audiences and families. We’re bringing a whole cross-section of dance that reaches all generations.”
Count Pitbull among the superstar headliners on the Strip when the NFL Draft hits town April 23-25. Mr. Worldwide is back with “Get Ready Vegas at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood on April 22, 24 and 25, and again Sept. 10-11 (over Mexican Independence Day weekend). Tickets are onsale 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com/pitbull.
Bruno Mars is at Park Theater and Keith Urban is at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace during those same dates. The NFL is building an all-star lineup of prospective headliners on for its vast draft party on the Strip.
Pitbull said three years ago he wanted to maintain a long-term residency relationship with Las Vegas. “Little by little, I’ll be moving in. I would say within the next two or three years, we’re going to be talking about a very long residency in Las Vegas.” For now, the party returns in April.
Moksha closes it
Fittingly, a popular Vegas band closed the show at Hard Rock Hotel on Sunday night. Veteran Vegas rockers Moksha brought the groove Sunday night to Peacock Lounge. It was something akin to a Grateful Dead revival, with casino viditors spinning to an almost unbroken jam. It was entirely appropriate.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.