wants to do it all. He dances, he sings, he acts, he plays musical instruments, he loves doing handiwork, he even wants to direct. The Dancing with the Stars
pro just likes to be inspired and he certainly keeps busy. So when watching another cool show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
— which, like DWTS,
airs on ABC — he decided he wanted to get involved with that too. He called the producers and got himself and fellow DWTS
pros Mark Ballas
, Tony Dovolani
, Anna Trebunskaya
and Chelsie Hightower
involved in changing the lives of Arboleda family.
In the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
episode that airs this Sunday, October 17, we'll meet Rhex Arboleda, his wife, Claire, and their five children — CJ, Clarenx, Calix, Cullen and Rhex. Rhex came to this country from the Philippines in pursuit of the American dream. In 2004 he created "Move to the Groove," a dance program designed to get both teachers and students on their feet and in shape. But Rhex's own health and wellness, and that of his family, were compromised by the state of the 70-year-old home they lived in. Derek and friends surprise the family by dancing their way through a fun and emotional demolition.
Derek says the show took a week to tape and was shot just two weeks before he started rehearsals with his current DWTS
celebrity partner, Jennifer Grey
. The stars aligned just right, including with the weather. "Literally 15 minutes after we got the family inside the house it started pouring down with rain," Derek tells Wetpaint
. "It was crazy. It was like the weather was holding out just for us to build the house. It was wild."
Before rushing off to rehearse for DWTS
Week 5, Derek spoke in a media teleconference about cheesy '80's demolition dancing on Extreme Makeover
, the "absurd concept" of Dancing with the Stars
, his expectations of being a rock band drummer and how Patrick Swayze inspires him.How did you get involved with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?
I was watching it a couple months ago. I've always been a fan of the show. I'm one of those types of people who watches Discovery Channel and How It's Made
. I love all those kinds of shows. I love seeing how things work and how they're built. But also watching the show, the emotional side of it is so strong I just thought I would love to, not only be a part of building something like that and seeing this construction and see it live and be there, but I would also love to be there and be part of changing a family's life and seeing their faces light up in person and to be part of something like that. I called and I just told somebody from the network and said 'Hey I would love to be part of the show' and luckily there was a family who was integral to what I do, which is dance and choreograph and whatnot. And the family created a dance program for kids to keep moving, to fight childhood obesity. So it all kind of meshed together perfectly. Two weeks later, before I know it, I'm out there putting a nail on a piece of wood.Did it turn out to be an emotional experience for you?
Absolutely. That's what made me want to do it in the first place, like everybody else watching it, getting emotional seeing how fantastic it is to see these amazing families who do so much for the community but don't really get anything back. To see their lives change, it's just phenomenal. Obviously to see it and to be part of it in person and to be there from the whole process from when they first find out to when they see their brand new house and walk around and see it, it was a phenomenal experience.How well did you do with the power tools? Did your dance experience help you at all with home improvement?
I was really excited to be around a construction site and see a house being demolished and rebuilt into this beautiful home for this amazing family. I really enjoyed myself. I can't say that my dancing ability helped — although we did do a fun kind of '80's montage demolition day. ... We had Tony, Chelsie, Anna and Mark come out that day for the demolition. Rhex Arboleda, who is the father of the family, he created a dance called "Move to the Groove" and it helps kids dance. So we wanted to do a demolition, but do it in an exercise-like fashion. We got into really cool '80's gear and we do this montage thing where we're working out as we're destroying the house. It was fun, it was fun. It's one of those where you look at it and I might go 'Oh man!' but you can't take yourself too seriously and we had a good time.Did the rest of the dancers have any difficulty with the construction work?
The rest of the dancers came when we were destroying the house, so it wasn't too hard. Although, in saying that, having a sledgehammer — you start knocking down walls you're like 'Oh, yeah, I got this.' After about the third one though you're like 'Man, I'm going to pull something.' This is a whole different ballgame, but it was a lot of fun. We had a good time.What was fun about this particular family?
It was kind of the prefect combination. ... The whole family had the most amazing energy and are hilarious. They actually kind of reminded me of my family growing up. We were all very — we had a lot of energy and were dancing around, and we were always performing. And each one had their own character, they all were so individual. Just brilliant, brilliant kids and just beautiful. ... Then when we went to their house, the energy of the family and how the light shone through them was not matched to their house. Their house was very dark, it was very, very small for seven people. It was awesome to be able to build a home that matched their energy. It was really cool.Have you been in touch with the family since filming ended?
I haven't, unfortunately, but I definitely want to get them out here to come see [Dancing with the Stars
]. I would love to get them out here, cause they all dance and they sing and play musical instruments. They're a talented and fun family. I would love to fly them out here and actually come see the show firsthand and live. It would be exciting for them. And also [laughs] I'm always with the family because there's actually a funny thing in the house with me on it. It wasn't my idea, but it's there, needless to say. So I'm always with them.Did you ever imagine you would get to this point when you were dancing as a kid?
Well, for me I never just did dancing. I always did music or I did plays and all that stuff. I never really thought I would ever be a dancer, per se. I started playing drums before I did anything else ... I thought I was going to be a rock star drummer before anything. It's just really amazing to see how, especially with [DWTS
] which is just absolutely absurd — you get a celebrity, put them in a rhinestone outfit and teach them how to do a Latin and a ballroom dance and perform it in front of 23 million people. It's an absurd concept, but it's so fantastic because it's just so amazing and entertaining. It's really cool to be part of, but to be honest with you, no, I never thought in a million years I'd be doing a Cha-Cha on live television.
What else is on your bucket list?
I've always done music and I've always done acting and theater growing up. ... For me, you know what, I kind of want to do everything. I actually kind of look at the late Patrick Swayze and obviously right now dancing with [his Dirty Dancing
co-star] Jennifer, they've been making comparisons and whatnot. It kind of made me go, wow, you know what, he's actually someone who I actually look up to and somebody I would definitely love to kind of mold myself around as far as, he was a dancer then got onto a film and had dancing, he would sing on the soundtrack ... and carried on to have a fantastic film career and whatnot. So for me he is somebody I would definitely aspire to be like.