Derek Hough’s choreography won the day last week, and his Dancing With the Stars partner Nastia Liukin rode Derek’s force-of-nature creativity to triumph with his substitute, Sasha Farber. Nastia looked happy with Sasha. And Derek got to lead from the bench, and soak up some glory afterwards.
This week Derek returns to dance, but is he full strength? The greatest gift Liukin brings to the dance floor is her unrivaled athleticism–she’s the best athlete in the competition. Derek Hough has taken real advantage of Liukin’s advantage, creating dances that allow her athletic gifts to shine. But will Derek have to tone down the choreography so that he can be up to speed, coming off the injury? (Will he maybe even do this subconsciously?) Or will he continue to choreograph routines that require the highest athleticism–and actually end up being too good a choreographer for the less-than-100% dancer he is expected to be tonight? The balance will have to be perfect! But that’s what a great choreographer finds: the balance.