Derek Hough Talks About His First Solo Dance Tour & Preparing To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

From 17 seasons on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” with a record six Mirror Ball trophies and a third season as a judge on NBC’s “World of Dance,” Derek Hough isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, he is just getting going. Right now, he is in the midst of a 59-city solo dance tour, the first of his kind without sister Julianne by his side. We caught up yesterday with the Emmy award winner to chat about his new solo dance tour and planning a summer trip to Africa with his father to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. (He will be performing at the Boch Center Wang Theatre in Boston on April 23).

Photo Credit: Derek Hough/Boch Center

You have been dancing since you were 11. When did you realize you wanted to make it your career?

It’s interesting that I never thought of making money from dancing. It was more about competing and winning for me that was my motivation. I didn’t think I would make a living at it, except maybe teaching. I was probably about 16 or 17 when I started making a little money dancing. Who would have thought there would be a TV show that would come out highlighting dancing. I am lucky to have been able to be a part of that. I am very grateful.

For years, you went out on tour with your younger sister, Julianne, but are now on the road for your first solo dance tour. Tell us a little about the performance that includes a live music component.

This tour has been received so well and it has been an unbelievable show that I have created. It feels so different than anything I have done before. We have a live band infused with dancing. I worked hard on the set list that includes everything from motown to big band music. It covers several different genres. The audience response has been incredible. They want CDs of the music. From a musical standpoint, people love the music and we infuse it with world class dancing. It has been a really amazing response so far.

We hear you do some singing as well as playing the guitar and drums?

I sing quite a bit in this show. I wanted to show a different side of me. Theater has always been a part of me and I wanted the audience to see that. I also wanted to be able to take a little breather on stage [laughs].

You did three successful tours with Julianne. Has it always been a dream of yours to embark on a solo journey?

You always kind of hope and wonder if the show will be a hit. It took a long time to put it together, but the longest part was creating the music and medleys because we had to record everything with a live band, but with a different version. It took a long time to get that together. It was fun being a kid always envisioning yourself on stage and rocking out. It has been really cool to be able to fill that dream with dance. The show is like a rock concert for dance, and it’s cool to marry those two together and appeal to a large spectrum from six-year-old kids to 92 year olds.

You have had a record six wins on “Dancing With The Stars” and are a judge on “World of Dance” alongside Jennifer Lopez and NE-YO, won an Emmy award and are a New York Times best selling author. What’s up next for you?

For me, there are so many things I want to do in being creative. I will always be doing something like that. Broadway is in my future perhaps. Right after the tour wraps up, I am going with my father to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Next week you will be coming to Boston. What are you looking forward to most when visiting the city?

I love Boston. Every time I am there, I go for what feels like a 10-mile walk. I was recently there visitng my girlfriend (Hayley Erbert) and we went to the Boston Public Library and Museum of Fine Arts. We did all the touristy stuff.