Daniella Karagach is known to World of Dance viewers for her exquisite performances with Pasha Pashkov on Season 2. In the ballroom world, the duo is known as the seven-time United States 10-Dance Champions and Latin Champions.
Daniella is now striking out on her own as a dancer on Derek Hough's tour. She talked to Dance Dish about making the difficult decision to do Derek Hough Live! and what challenged her the most during the rehearsal process.
Dance Dish: How did the opportunity to join Derek's tour come about?
Daniella Karagach: We worked together on the "Natural" video. We worked really well together and he asked me if I'd come on tour with him. He gave me some time to think about it and see what I wanted to do.
DD: Did you have to weigh out your options since you had Pasha and your competition season to consider?
Daniella: At first, I was a little hesitant because I am still competing. I compete with my husband, who is also my partner. We had to weigh out a lot of things. It was difficult, but then again, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You're not going to get many of these opportunities and competitions will always be there.
We both sat down and we decided that this is going to be the first thing, not just for me, but for our family as well. You can't say no to it, you know? And Derek is amazing, so it's a great experience.
DD: I imagine having Pasha's support in this decision made a huge difference?
Daniella: Oh, for sure. He was the one who said, "You're going. You're going to go, whether you like it or not." [She laughed.]
I wanted to weigh everything out and see how it was going to go. We have a studio in New York and we have a lot of kids and it's hard to be away from them as well. We have so many important competitions and I'm going to miss the most important competition in our careers — Blackpool.
So it's a lot to risk. But again, like Pasha said, "You're not going to get this all of the time. You better do it." He's right. I'm young, we don't have any kids and I can just explore for now.
DD: What was the rehearsal period like for you?
Daniella: I'm not going to lie, it was difficult. I have to say, though, everyone was just so positive and so nice and they just cared so much for us. Yes, the dancing is hard work, but the cast is great. It's just been an overall positive experience.
The dancing takes a lot of energy, so that's been difficult. We had 10-hour days for three weeks before the show. It was intense. I'm having some bruising in places I've never had them before and I'm sore.
DD: Are you cross-trained in all styles?
Daniella: I am not trained in anything but ballroom. I have done a little bit of ballet in my childhood, but ballroom is something I have done my whole life. I've never done contemporary, I've never done jazz or hip-hop like the other dancers, but it's super challenging.
I promised myself that after the tour, I'm going to take up [other styles] because I see these dancers around me and how good they are with picking up choreography. I want to do the same thing. After the tour, I'm definitely going to study and get more knowledge about other styles.
DD: Now that you have a few shows under your belt, what has the tour experience been like for you?
Daniella: I'm so much more comfortable with everything. When I was signing the contract, I never knew I was going to have this much fun, which is very refreshing. It's been such a great experience.
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