• Kristyn Burtt

Looking Back at Macy's Stars of Dance on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Updated: Jun 26



One of the best things to come out of Dancing With the Stars over 28 seasons was Macy's Stars of Dance. The concept started in Season 5 with the department store company sponsoring Wade Robson on the results show. The segment was expanded in Season 6, which brought some impressive dance names, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mario Lopez and the cast of the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line and Riverdance.


Season 7 also brought in Macy's Stars of Dance: Design-A-Dance, where fans had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pros or former contestants to create a dance. The song, dance style and costumes were voted on by the fans. Derek and Julianne Hough even received an Emmy nomination in 2009 for their Design-A-Dance Jive Jerry Lee Lewis’ "Great Balls of Fire."


It's impossible to pick favorites when so many great choreographers came through to participate in the show. It just proves how lucky audiences were to have such incredible dances on DWTS week after week. The show kept its focus on ballroom while delivering other styles of dance through the Macy's numbers. It was a perfect balance and a wonderful encapsulation of dance history.


Here are just a few highlights in our first (not our last!) look at Macy's Stars of Dance:


1. Season 5, Week 4 Results Show: October 16, 2007:

Choreographer: Wade Robson

Wade Robson hadn't performed in four years when he came out of retirement to create this circus/funhouse piece. If you take a look at it now, the concept was way ahead of its time in 2007. While Robson has been in the headlines for other tragic reasons, he's still teaching and inspiring another generation of dancers.


2. Season 13, Week 2 Results Show: September 27, 2011

Choreographer: Marguerite Derricks

The Showgirls and Austin Powers choreographer took advantage of DWTS' production values and incredible set to do a tribute to Busby Berkeley. This wasn't the show's only tribute to Berkeley, Season 28 Halloween Night choreographer Michael Rooney did a number in Season 8. Marguerite Derricks now choreographs for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime.


3. Season 14, Week 3 Results Show: April 3, 2012

Choreographer: Misha Gabriel

What's remarkable about this Misha Gabriel piece is that it's an all-male piece set to the Harold Wheeler Orchestra. The number features some familiar faces, including Travis Wall, Kenny Wormald and tWitch doing a fusion of House, Locking, Popping and Jazz. Viewers will probably never see anything like this again on the show.


4. Season 16 - Week 8 - Results Show - May 7, 2013

Choreographer: Derek Hough

This piece might be the pinnacle of the Macy's Stars of Dance portfolio. It not only won Derek Hough his first Emmy, this seven-ton set piece really was an incredible challenge for the highly skilled DWTS production team. "Walking on Air" defined the Hough era on DWTS, showcased Jaimie Goodwin's divine technique and still holds up beyond belief six years later. It's a masterpiece. (Editor's Note: And yes, there are many more Derek Hough/Macy's Stars of Dance pieces to talk about in future articles.)


5. Season 23, Week 11 Results Show, November 22, 2016

Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore won her first Emmy for this piece because of her imaginative use of technology, storytelling and movement. Besides featuring the DWTS pros and troupe, So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 co-winner Fik-Shun joined the fun and festive holiday piece.


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