Derek Hough paid tribute to Dick Van Dyke and his iconic career in the way he knows best–through dance. The entertainment icon was one of the honorees at the 2021 Kennedy Center Awards, and Hough – who’s no stranger to awards himself with two Primetime Emmy Awards and a record six “Dancing With the Stars” mirrorball trophies under his belt – pulled out all the stops (and put on a happy face) to pay tribute to the 95-year-old legend with two amazing song and dance routines.
Hough, 36, even got the seal of approval from Van Dyke himself. In a video shared on Hough’s Instagram page, Van Dyke marveled over the dancer’s “Mary Poppins” moves and was blown away to find the “Dancing With the Stars” veteran had only rehearsed the routines for a few days.
“What a pleasure to perform at the @kennedycenter to honor an absolute legend,” Hough captioned the clip. “Dick Van Dyke has been entertaining us for decades. And to perform for him on his special night Seeing his face light up during the performance filled me with so much joy. Such an honor.”
So, which routines did Hough perform?
Derek Hough Performed a Song & Dance to ‘Put On a Happy Face’ From ‘Bye Bye Birdie’
In 1960, Van Dyke debuted the song “Put on a Happy Face” in the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” Three years later he reprised his role as Albert F. Peterson for a big screen adaption of the musical, per IMDB. Van Dyke performed the song with Janet Leigh, who played Rosie De Leon in the film.
Nearly 60 years later, Hough paid tribute to Van Dyke’s role as he performed an updated dance to the song alongside his partner, Broadway star Laura Osnes. The two performed the revamped dance in an empty concert hall, where Hough also surprised fans with his singing chops.
Derek Hough Danced & Sang to ‘Step In Time’ From ‘Mary Poppins’
One of Van Dyke’s most beloved films is the 1964 classic “Mary Poppins,” where he played Bert the chimney sweep, a guy who also did triple duty as a pavement chalk artist, kite flier, and one-man band. Van Dyke also donned a bushy white beard much as he has now in real life to play banker, Mr. Dawes.
In one of van Dyke’s most memorable scenes from the Oscar-winning movie, Bert and the other chimney sweeps danced and chanted across the rooftops of London.
More than 55 years later, Van Dyke’s iconic performance from the original “Mary Poppins” movie was also remembered as Hough and a team of dancers performed a new version of “Step in Time” in his honor. The outdoor segment featured a rooftop view of the Potomac River as singers Laura Osnes, Aaron Tveit, and Pentatonix performed vocals.
It’s not the first time Hough has taken on Van Dyke’s signature “Mary Poppins” performance. For the “Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60” special that aired on ABC in 2016, he performed the lively dance number from the iconic Disney film. In a surprise cameo, Van Dyke, who was 90 years young at the time, even joined Hough on stage to kick up his knees for the updated version of the dance, per Broadway World.
In addition to Hough’s tributes to Van Dyke, fellow Kennedy Center honorees Debbie Allen, Garth Brooks, Joan Baez, and Midori were honored with performances by Vanessa Hudgens, Kelly Clarkson Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, and Yo-Yo Ma, according to Vulture.