'Dancing With the Stars': Derek Hough Bounces Back

Here's a print profile, out this week, of a pro dancer who has a good chance of going all the way ...

Nicole_Scherzinger_Derek_Hough.jpgBefore this season even began on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" - which has its two-part season finale on Monday and Tuesday, May 24 and 25 - professional ballroom dancer Derek Hough was already nursing an injury after celebrity partner Nicole Scherzinger accidentally kicked him in the face during rehearsals.


This is nothing new for Hough. Previous troubles included a neck injury, food poisoning, a brief blackout after a fall and a bout of the flu.


Thankfully, he's in his early 20s and has strong recuperative powers.


"I'm definitely accident-prone," he says. "I'm always getting hurt, especially on this show. Around this time - knock on wood - I get sick or the flu or my neck gets hurt. It's always something with me."


(HCTV: Not long after this interview took place, Hough complained on camera of neck and back pain, so apparently his streak continues unbroken in this regard.)


While many celebrities get hurt, they're not the only ones.


"You know what," Hough says, "you've got to make sure that you stretch and take care of yourself. Sometimes, honestly, we forget, because we get so caught up in choreographing and teaching our partners that we sometimes forget to stretch ourselves and take care of our bodies. That's why sometimes injuries happen to us as well."


Hough characterizes himself a taskmaster but not a joyless one.


"My style of teaching," he says, "is I'm very strict, I'm very hard, but it's always fun for me. I always want to have fun in my rehearsals. In whatever I do, I want to enjoy myself. I love what I do, and I want to make sure, when the celebrities walk out, that they enjoy the rehearsals and they don't dread it."


He also thinks it's important to bounce back from disputes in the rehearsal hall.


"In general," he says, "in life, I don't believe arguments should last very long. So we argue for about five seconds, 'All right, we're done; on to the next thing.' There's just not enough time to argue."


Birthplace: Salt Lake City , on May 17, making him a Taurus


Family cred: His sister, Julianne Hough, is also a professional ballroom dancer. She hasDerek_Hough.jpg appeared on "Dancing With the Stars" and is currently pursuing a country music career.


Theater cred: Played Ren McCormack in the U.K. tour and the West End production of "Footloose: The Musical," played the lead in "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the Millfield Theatre in London and danced in the company for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" at the London Palladium


Dance cred: Won the IDSF World Youth Latin Championship in 2002 for Poland with Aneta Piotrowska


Favorite book: "I read all the Dan Brown books a long time ago. I really enjoyed those. I really enjoyed 'Angels and Demons' when I read that, but that was a long time ago. I'm terrible, I don't want to say this, but I don't read very often."


Favorite music: "My favorite type of music is rock music. One of my favorite bands right now is Muse. I love Breaking Benjamin. I love 30 Seconds to Mars. I love rock music; I love metal music. The one music that I'm not really huge on is country music, which is pretty funny considering my sister's a country artist."


Favorite movie: "I'm a huge movie buff. I love to go see movies. I go by myself to movie theaters, get my popcorn, so for me to pick one would be extremely hard. I loved 'American History X,' thought that was a great film. I loved 'Inglourious Basterds'; that was awesome. And I like the lighthearted ones. I really enjoyed 'Kick-Ass.' "