With seven mirror balls between them, siblings Derek and Julianne Hough have established themselves as two of the best dancers to ever grace the stage on ABC’s long-running talent show, “Dancing with the Stars.”
But fans might wonder, can they foxtrot their way out of Hollywood and find the same success on the road? After the first of a two-show engagement Saturday night at the Seneca Niagara Hotel and Casino, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
From the moment they took the stage, it was clear it wasn’t your average evening of live dance, music or theater. Backed by a 10-member dance troupe, Derek and Julianne, or “Jules,” as her older brother affectionately referred to her, worked their magic for a near-capacity crowd in the Events Center.
Whether it was Julianne eliciting a collective gasp as she fell backwards from the elevated stage into the arms of her dance-mates, or Derek shredding his black muscle shirt and tossing it into a sea of adoring ladies, the Houghs showed why America has fallen in love with them.
Milling about the bar area before the show, it was evident that there were two groups of people in attendance. The hardcore DWTS fans were in full effect, and their energy was contagious as showtime neared. But mixed among them were, as Julianne later pointed out, “the guys who got dragged here tonight.”
If that latter group was large at the outset, it no doubt shrank considerably as the Houghs and their troupe won them over with a mix of live music, an elaborate light and video show, and of course, world-class dancing. If you weren’t a fan walking in the door, there was a fair chance you were at least impressed as you made your way to the exit.
With all of the panache of a Las Vegas show, Julianne orchestrated more than 10 outfit changes during the 90-minute spectacle, each more glamorous than the one before.
While much of the show was high-energy dance punctuated by hip-hop and pop routines, fans got to experience more than just the magic of dancing. At various points throughout the show, the crowd was treated to Derek on the guitar, live drums, and both Derek and Julianne showing off their impressive vocal talents.
To that end, one of the highlights of the night was watching Julianne take the stage in a gold gown adorned with sequins and lights, performing Katy Perry’s mega-hit, “Firework” in a fitting tribute to the Fourth of July. The crowd loved it, and it was clear from the smiles on the performers’ faces that they did, too.
In fact, beyond the incredible choreography (Derek is an Emmy-winning choreographer for his work on DWTS), and complex dance routines, the thing that jumps out from “Move, Live on Tour,” is that each member of the group seems to be having fun – pure, unadulterated fun onstage. It comes through in their energy, in their performances, and in their storytelling, which both Julianne and Derek mix nicely in between dance routines.
Other high points of this magical night of song and dance included Derek donning a leather jacket and taking to the crowd to perform “Jailhouse Rock,” and Julianne tapping into the top of the charts and covering Meghan Trainor’s No. 1 song, “All About That Bass.”
Casino shows can tend to be a bit more mellow, but that was anything but true on Saturday night, as the crowd that packed the Events Center cheered, clapped, sang along and screamed for more all night long. It was a tribute to the amazing chemistry the Hough siblings share on stage, and the heart and soul they pour into their touring show.
That’s why their choice for a final song – One Republic’s, “I Lived” – seemed so fitting. With the lyrics, “I owned every second that this world could give,” hanging in the air, it was evident that the song was more than just a musical selection, it was a mantra for those superbly talented siblings for whom the best is yet to come.