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COMMENTARY The fans are going wild. You can feel their energy and excitement. They have arrived 45 minutes early and are whispering to each other in anticipation about the show … and we are still just in the lobby. It is a Sunday afternoon at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, and Derek Hough and his sister, Julianne, along with eight other dancers, will be performing during their Move Live tour. As a long-time fan of Derek, who demon- strates amazing talent on Dancing with the Stars, I am really looking forward to this live performance. Sitting in the third row, cen- ter, gazing up onto the beautifully decorated stage, I really do feel as if I am at a theater on Broadway. The Van Wezel is sold out and filled with people of all genders and all ages — proving once again that exceptional talent will always win out when it comes to attract- ing people to a performance. Promptly at 2 p.m., the lights dim and the strobe lights appear, accompanied by loud, fast, high-energy music that serves to introduce the stars. Derek and Julianne are standing at the top of a stairway, surrounded by four other fantastic dancing couples. Black-and-white costumes sprinkled with sequins enhance the vibrancy of their movements in the show's opening number, and the audience loves it. Every routine was excellent, but a couple of them stand out in my memory. The first was an Argentine tango, filled with passion, per- fect steps and fiery music that reminded me of Buenos Aires. The brother and sister seem to be so in sync with each other's thoughts and actions, they appear as one in a blur of whirl- ing and turning. In the show's second half, I thoroughly enjoyed their tribute to American songs and dances from the 1920s to the present. Once again, the high energy evidenced by all the dancers, com- bined with their amazingly perfect-looking bodies and their extraordinary speed as they switched from one dance rhythm to another, created a fabulous performance. I must have said, "Wow" at least a million times. Derek has great stage presence. When he addressed the audience, with his abundant folksy humor, and then literally recruited a few fans to dance on stage, the rest of us applauded and screamed in joy. I have never seen so many people having so much fun at the Van Wezel. They even gave the dancers standing ovations during many of the dance numbers, not wait- ing until the routines ended to applaud. Personally, I can say that having watched a variety of marvelous entertainment over the past 15 years at the Van Wezel, this per- formance is my all-time favorite. It certainly does not hurt to know that in my next life, I am coming back as Leslie Caron and I will be dancing with Gene Kelly in a remake of An American in Paris. % ODE TO DEREK By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY OPINION Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 113

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