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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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'Dancing With the Stars' Houghs move and groove in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — If the Ruth Eckerd Hall audience had “Dancing With the Stars” judging paddles, the brother-and-sister dancers Derek and Julianne Hough would all earn 10s.

To call the 5 p.m. matinee of the “Move Live Tour,” starring the dancing siblings with support from 10 backup dancers, fast paced would be unjust.

The audience needed the 15-minute intermission almost as much as they did — and the whole crew was going to do it again at an 8 p.m. show. Both shows were sold out.

The pair hit the stage running, Derek wearing a black and white suit and Julianne in a white dominatrix-type body suit, with an amped-up “DWTS” freestyle dance to a medley of songs including “Who Let the Dogs Out.”

That morphed into Pharrell's “Happy,” where they kicked, jumped, spun, and were lifted into the air.

Some in the crowd of mostly middle-aged to older folks got to their feet but many more danced in their seats — clapping and waving their hands and arms and screaming on cue.

The screams from female audience members got louder quickly when Derek's jacket came off. And then his tank top, which was thrown into about the eighth row. Then he flashed flashed a sly smile. Do we have an 11 paddle?

If the audience came to see a show similar to “DWTS,” they may have been disappointed — at first. There was little resemblance to the ABC reality show. There was some cha-cha, some rumba but no Viennese waltzes. This was an all-out sprint and by the end nobody cared.

And when they came out into the crowd to dance with audience members — including a woman whose hands liked Derek a lot and a man named Dick who got a selfie with Julianne — it got loud and rowdy.

The two danced together, solo or with their support dancers in an energizing well choreographed display.

Julianne, wearing a red dress did a passionate Latin-inspired dance with the support dancers. When Derek joined her, dressed as a toreador, the dance turned in to a fiery paso-doble where she literally became his bullfighting cape.

The pair also performed an inspired routine to “Great Balls of Fire,” complete with Julianne dancing on the keyboard, the first dance they did together on “DWTS.”

And they sang. Yes, they are this generation's Donny & Marie — photos of the Osmonds even popped up behind them.

And sibling rivalry was on display when they sang Irving Berlin's “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” from “Annie Get Your Gun.” She pointed out she'd been in some successful movies, he reminded her he won an Emmy for choreography. On an electronic panel behind Julianne, two mirror-ball trophies popped up for her “DWTS” victories, and then five of the trophies popped up behind Derek. Huzzah.

After a rousing round of “Shout,” where most in the crowd finally did get to their feet, the pair — almost breathless from nearly a non-stop 90-minute show — encouraged everyone to keep moving. And so we did — out the doors to find the nearest Jazzercise or Arthur Murray dance class.

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