Dancing With the Kenyon Stars Swings for Charity
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 02:12
Last Friday, employees and students teamed up to raise money for charity at Kenyon’s second annual “Dancing With the Kenyon Stars.”
The competition raised $1,050 for the Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action Commission, a Coshocton-based non-profit service organization dedicated to reducing local poverty. While admission was free, a two-dollar donation allowed attendees to vote on their favorite pair of dancers.
Kim Blank, assistant director of student activities for programming; Bob Milnikel, associate professor of mathematics; President S. Georgia Nugent and Professor of Anthropology David Suggs judged the event. As master of ceremonies, Professor of Music Ben Locke provided often comedic commentary.
Each faculty/staff dancer paired off with a member of the Kenyon Ballroom Dance Club, who chose a song and choreographed the duo’s dance. Professors and students spent several weeks practicing and preparing for the competition.
The Ballroom Dance Club, which hosted the event, kicked things off with a showcase cha-cha to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” which elicited ample laughs and applause from the audience. Four student-professor teams followed: Katherine Baker ’14 and Assistant Professor of French Pierre Dairon performed the quickstep and Johanna Klinman ’15 and Professor of Biology Christopher Gillen changed up the tempo with the swing. Thomas Hite ’16 and Marne Ausec, director of the Center for Global Engagement, danced third. They were joined onstage by Ausec’s daughter Marisol and a quartet of Kenyon students, who had painted a large rainbow on their chests — an apt design for the dance, a waltz performed to the Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection.”
Blank said Hite and Ausec’s dance was successful because, “like in any good movie, special effects and children go a long way.”
The Ballroom Dance Club again took the stage for a Viennese waltz to Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up,” and they were followed by Mia Barnett ’15 and Provost Nayef Samhat dancing the American tango, Bradley Raynor ’16 and Professor of French Mary Jane Cowles dancing the cha-cha and Brandylyn Arredondo ’14 and Assistant Men’s Lacrosse Coach Gary DiClementi dancing the jive.
Nugent, who participated last year and was originally scheduled to dance the foxtrot with Luke Kresslein ’15, sustained a knee injury earlier in the week and was unable to participate in the competition. She was happy to judge, though.
“As I was coming out tonight, I thought the most challenging thing would be that if it isn’t great you don’t want to hurt their feelings,” Nugent said. “Tonight it wasn’t very challenging at all because everybody was good. They were all creative, and there was something good to say about every team.”
While judges gave every team individual scores, it was the audience that had the final say. In the end, Arredondo and DiClementi took home the competition’s disco ball trophy, designed by Executive Assistant to the President and Provost Pamela Faust.
Arredondo, who is president of the club, praised every pair’s dedication.
“I think we did pretty well,” she said. “After I saw everyone together at the end I was talking to my ballroom officers, and they thought they had perfect matches with their professors. They created really good bonds.”
DiClementi noted the challenging time commitment, but also acknowledged his lacrosse players, many of whom showed up for the performance.
“I really appreciate their support,” DiClementi said. “They showed up for something they may not have before, and I’m happy because that donates a lot of money to the cause. They were really supportive.”
“They’ll probably give me a hard time about it,” he added, “but in the end I think they thought it was pretty cool.”
Kresslein, Nugent’s would-be partner, participated in last year’s show as well.
“I think [this year’s show] looked a lot more formal,” he said. “I think it worked better as a show, and I think it was more efficient, as far as running the program. It took a long time to count the votes, but we’re getting better. It was really fun to see the professors come out and see their hard work. We really appreciate everything they do and how they support the club.”