"Building is definitely harder than dancing," says Derek Hough, after participating in the construction project

By Monica Rizzo
Updated October 17, 2010 10:30 AM
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Credit: Bill Richert/ABC

It was an unusual sight last August when several of the Dancing with the Stars professional dancers showed up in jeans, T-shirts and hardhats at the Neenah, Wis., home of Rhex Arboleda.

Just weeks before Dancing‘s season 11 began, the gang decided to pitch in on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode, scheduled to air Oct. 17 (8 p.m. ET), and there was, indeed, a dancing connection.

“Rhex started a program called Move to the Groove that encourages kids to get up and move, dance and be active,” DWTS pro Derek Hough tells PEOPLE.

Hough was joined by fellow ballroom stars Mark Ballas, Tony Dovolani, Anna Trebunskaya and Chelsie Hightower. The gang all pitched in to help rebuild the home where Arboleda, an unsung hometown hero, lives with his wife and five children.

“This family of seven was living in a 500-square-foot home, but they were the most positive people,” Hough says. “It was wonderful to be part of that energy, to give back to someone who had given so much but had so little.”

Throughout the weeklong build with Ty Pennington and his crew, Hough insisted he be allowed to “get [his] hands dirty.”

“After a few hours of swinging a hammer I was quite sore, I have to admit,” Hough says, laughing. “Building is definitely harder than dancing.”