Active students test dancing skills in competition

Andrew Lafrance

Andrew Lafrance

Several of SDSU’s well-known faces are about to make their dancing debut.

Dancing with the Stars is making its second annual appearance on campus, featuring five SDSU faces students may recognize.

The stars for 2009 are Tanner Pruess, an active member of Delta Chi; Theresa Dendinger, who belongs to AZD; Mackenzie “Ohio” Angner, who plays for the SDSU volleyball team; Carson Dinger, the coordinator for the Children’s Miracle Network State-a-thon; and Chris Daugaard, the 2008-2009 Students’ Association president. Their partners, who will also choreograph the songs, are, respectively, Rachel Foth, Pierce Humke, Wes Haskell, Aileen Sousa and Emily Conway.

Brady Mallory, a senior broadcast journalism major, came up with the idea for Dancing with the Stars in April 2007.

“My then-adviser and I had talked about doing something like this,” Mallory said.

He said that he thought a production based on a popular TV show would appeal to students and be relevant in pop culture.

“Even though it was my idea originally, many people were involved in getting it off the ground,” said Mallory.

The performances begin when students return from spring break on March 16.

“The audience gets to vote each week on their favorite contestants,” Mallory said. “Whoever wins on the final night receives a prize of $200.”

Mallory said the themes this spring would be interesting.

“One night will be 1990s, another will be rock and roll. We have a golden oldies night with songs that will range from the 1920s to 1950s. The last night will be freestyle.”

All of the costumes for the dancers will be created right here on campus.

“The costume shop will create the costumes,” Mallory said. “Everything for Dancing with the Stars is run by students at SDSU from the ground up.”

Rachel Foth, who graduated last December with a major in communication studies and theatre, is excited Mallory asked her back to choreograph once again for Dancing with the Stars.

“The best aspect of Dancing with the Stars is everyone involved. I think the people we have for the dances were chosen well. Brady tried really hard to pair everyone up with someone who would work well and perform well with them. And I think he did a really good job,” Foth said.

Foth, who was runner-up last year with Nathan Hofer, said that she was most excited this year for the oldies-themed night.

“We don’t usually do dances to oldies. Every week we get to pick our own dances, and I have a really awesome song selected for the oldies performance,” she said.

Another choreographer for season two is Wes Haskell, a senior communication studies and theatre major. While he was not able to attend last year’s performance, Haskell said he is ready for this year and the mixture of both enjoyment and competition.

“My partner, Mackenzie Angner, is a competitive volleyball player, so she will want to make it more competitive than perhaps some of the other dancers. I myself am also fairly competitive, but we want to make sure it’s fun overall too. The money is a great incentive, but I think that most of the dancers are doing it for the enjoyment aspect.”

Both Foth and Haskell have optimistic outlooks on their chances of winning.

“I was runner-up last year, so I think I could perhaps win this time,” said Foth.

Haskell wants to make it at least to the final night.

“I’m most excited for freestyle. I hope that we can make it into the final week so that we can show off our eclectic style and do whatever we want,” Haskell said.

Mallory said everyone at SDSU and in Brookings should attend.

“There are not many differences between the TV show and our version,” he said.

Mallory thinks that SDSU’s Dancing with the Stars will appease fans of the TV show, while entertaining others that may not have watched the show. Dancing with the Stars is held in the Volstorff Ballroom on March 16, 23,and 30 at 8 p.m. The finale will be held at Larson Memorial Concert Hall, located in the Performing Arts Center, on April 8 at 7 p.m. Admission is free for everyone.