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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

The ‘Derek Hough Live’ Tour Inspired Chase Haley Bowden to Dream Bigger

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Chase Haley Bowden is no stranger to the World of Dance stage. He performed on Season 1 with Miami All-Stars, and in Season 2 with Embodiment the Collective. Competing on that show gave him a taste of what behind-the-scenes opportunities there are in the dance industry.

It's something he's keeping his eye on for the future, but for now, he's touring with Derek Hough on the Derek Hough Live! tour. It's an amazing full-circle moment in Chase's career because Derek has been a huge source of inspiration going back to 2014. That's the year Derek released his first book, Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion.

Chase spoke with Dance Dish about the tour, what it is like being dance captain and how this job has inspired his future goals.

Dance Dish: Last year, you were performing in front of Derek Hough on World of Dance as a part of Rudy Abreu's Embodiment the Collective. This year, you are performing alongside Derek. How does that feel?

Chase Haley Bowden: Derek released a book five years ago and I think it's the only book I ever read. I read his book cover to cover and I was always inspired by him. I don't even think he knows that yet.

He's such a leader, not a follower in the industry and everything he creates, it's just original. He's making up iconic pieces left and right.

DD: What was it like having Rudy Abreu as your supervising choreographer for this tour after working with him with Embodiment?

Chase: I trained at Dance Town in Miami [where Rudy trained] for a little bit, so it's funny how it all worked out. It was perfect for me to have him as the supervising choreographer because we work well together.

We're family so rehearsals were great. We got to see each other every day and have lunch together. Whenever he was stressed about the choreography, I would help him out with it or we would talk about it.

DD: What was it like working under NappyTabs?

Chase: They are the best people to work for in the industry; there are very genuine people. They care about you and they treat you like their own. It's honestly one of the greatest experiences I'll ever have working for them on this tour. 

I was named the dance captain of the tour two weeks ago by Tabitha. So I had a great connection with her and I also really hit off with Napoleon. After I did the World of Dance tour, I kept in touch with Napoleon and Katy [Tate, part of NappyTabs' Creative Team]. They asked me to come in [to audition for Derek's tour] and they said I was going to be too tall, but come in to be seen. I went in and then two weeks later, I booked it.

DD: There's a great life lesson right there.

Chase: I remember getting so close to booking many jobs this past fall. I made it to the last round of the Christina Aguilera audition or I almost booked Power Rangers on Nickelodeon. I was second for both things — between me and another guy. 

It's nice because you just have to keep pushing. It just motivates you. Now I'm on the tour and it's the greatest thing ever.

DD: What are your duties as dance captain while you are out on tour?

Chase:  I'm basically the "tour dad" and I make sure everybody's OK. Even when NappyTabs is there, they have me scream out the counts or make decisions on certain lines or whatever we need to fix.

Every day, I run tech rehearsal. We go through a dance and we keep working our way through the show. So we clean a number and do it full out, and then the rest of the numbers we look at areas we need to fix. We work with the band a lot, too, and they run through it with us.

It's a different ballgame when you're dancing with a live band instead of being in rehearsal and listening to the tracks — it's a whole different story. That took a little bit for us to get used to, but we're all used to it now, so it's pretty awesome. 

DD: How has this tour inspired you? It sounds like the dance captain position has opened the door for choreographer and creative director ambitions.

Chase: Oh, you nailed it. That's exactly what I told Tabitha after the first two shows. I eventually want to be in their shoes and work my way up. I definitely want it to be sooner rather than later.

And the inspiration I get it every day by having the best boss. Derek is just the coolest guy — he cares for us. And seeing him through the creative process and all of those light-bulb moments. He's constantly inspiring me and thinking outside the box by trying to be different than anybody else and taking risks and challenges.


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