Derek Hough Movie Another Sign of Explosion of Dance Popularity

Derek Hough, Julie McDonald

Yes, there are a lot of “Dancing With the Stars” fans missing popular pro Derek Hough this season.  However, “He’s off to Canada to film a movie, ‘Cobu 3D.’  He’s starring.  He’s dancing and acting,” notes Julie McDonald of the dance romance in which Hough’s leading lady is Asian star BoA.  “He wants to do other things, and this is a wonderful opportunity for him.”

Hough is among the elite group of dance talents represented by McDonald’s MSA agency — so she knows.   The former dancer (whose own career was cut short by injury) has more than 20 years’ experience in working with dancers, stage director and choreographers, including “So You Think You Can Dance” choreography faves Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo.  Tabitha and Napoleon happen to be choreographing “Cobu,” in addition to assignments like Fox’s “Mobbed” and “The Kids Choice Awards,” plus the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, “Chipwrecked.”

“People’s careers are extending longer and longer in dance,” McDonald observes, “but those who want to have even longer careers have to expand.  Some go into choreography, some into acting.  Then you see a lot of choreographers going into producing and directing, like Kenny Ortega, Adam Shankman and Rob Marshall.”

McDonald adds that today, with mass exposure including social networking making dance stars into household names, there are even more opportunities for branching out.  “Dancers are often trendsetters.  A lot of them are into fashion and design.  Tabitha has a store,” she notes.

The explosion of dance and musical show popularity in recent years has made things both easier and more difficult for McDonald, a pioneer in exclusively representing terpsichorean types.  The business, she notes, has become much more complicated — and crowded.  “There are a lot more people out there calling themselves choreographers.”

Still, there’s obviously demand for the cream of the corps.  In a sampling of McDonald’s clients, Swany (Mark Swanhart) is the choreographer for Celine Dion’s new Vegas show and Gilles Papain is their video designer.  Sonya Tayeh is directing and choreographing Miley Cyrus’s new tour.  Marguerite Derricks is choreographing Broadway’s Wonderland, and Jamie King is directing the forthcoming Michael Jackson Cirque du Soliel show with Travis Payne choreographing.  That show is so huge, in fact, McDonald says that multiple choreographers are contributing their talents.

There’s also Steven Spielberg’s new pilot, “Smash,” starring Debra Messing and Katharine McPhee as part of a troupe getting ready to mount a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, with MSA client Josh Bergasse serving as choreographer.

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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