My Statement on Derek Hough’s Emmy Win


The Emmys last night had a first in 58 years. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented the Emmy Award for Best Choreography live during the evening’s ceremony. The nominated choreographers pieced together a massive dance number, performed with host Neil Patrick Harris. Amidst the celebration I saw on my social media feed, there was also a lot of bashing. Regardless of his multiple (multiple, multiple, multiple, etc., etc.) wins on “Dancing With The Stars” the Academy made the right decision selecting Hough.

I understand how some might be upset seeing Derek win everything. Look, I’ve been a fan of DWTS since the first second it premiered. Derek taking home the coveted mirror ball trophy might be getting old. I myself want to see another pro take home the trophy. Regardless, this isn’t “Dancing With The Stars.” This is the Emmy Awards. A night celebrating all of television. The voters were focusing on his choreography, not how many times he’s won an award versus the other choreographers. DWTS controversy is DWTS controversy.

You may dislike Derek for winning everything, but there’s a reason he does. He’s won national and international titles in Latin Ballroom since his early youth. He and his sister Julianne (yes, the famous champion dancer turned actress) moved to London at an early age just to dance. They trained with Shirley and Corky Ballas, two of the top ballroom coaches in the world. The producers didn’t put him on the show solely for sex appeal. Hough spent most of his life on the dance floor – and he has the awards to prove it.

Being a fellow ballroom dancer myself, last night was a HUGE win for everyone in the TV/Dance community. For years, dance has always been in the background. It wasn’t until shows like DWTS and “So You Think You Can Dance” that gave them a much needed platform. Clientele at dance studios across the world have gone up tremendously over the past few years. Ballroom dance decades ago was nicknamed “an old folks’ hobby.” Now the demographic has shifted dramatically. Dance has been incorporated more and more in entertainment. It also allowed gave dancers a spotlight, so they can venture off to other projects. They can now show their versatility other than just dancing. The number was one of – if not – the best part of the whole entire ceremony. Derek has opened a huge door for dance genres everywhere. I’m a huge fan of Nappy Tabs (aka Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo). I also love Travis Wall, Mandy J. Moore, and EVERYONE nominated. They all work in different mediums of dance,  but made last night’s number come together seamlessly. If the choreographers got this much praise NOW, think of how far dance will come in the following years.

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