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The Northerner

Dancers swing to the top

Brittany Johnson

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Never has dancing been so entertaining and awkward at the same time. Northern Kentucky University’s Communication Graduate Student Organization and its dance troupe presented “Dancing with the Scholars” April 3 in Regents Hall as a fundraiser for the Communications department.

Dr. Jimmie Manning and student Joy Raniero had the audience in awe as they performed a very sexy and passionate dance to El Tango de Roxanne, from “Moulin Rouge.”

Their performance was amazing and almost unbelievable as a student/teacher duo, but slightly awkward to watch with their extremely passionate and theatrical movements.

“Your chemistry is breathtaking as a couple. You’re breathtaking and wonderful. Wow!” Jessica Buff, a judge and teacher at the Academy of Lexington and Lakewood Premiere of Mayfield, Ky said.

Manning and Raniero received high praises for their tango, but it was Chris Strobel, a communications professor and student Lexie Anderson who walked away with the title of NKU’s first winners of “Dancing with the Scholars.”

Strobel and Anderson performed a swing dance to “Great Balls of Fire.” With their rambunctious attitudes, perfectly selected outfits and outrageous moves, which included Anderson being dragged across the floor in the splits and very fancy footwork, this dancing duo was exciting to watch.

“I was really bad – both in technique and in memory,” Strobel said. “But the real reason we won was because of Lexie. Her choreography was great and she is an outstanding teacher and an incredible dancer. She challenged my meager skills and created a great routine. We had way too much fun.”

A panel of four judges determined the top three, which included Dr. Steve Boyd and Sarah Treas, Dr. Jimmie Manning and Joy Raniero, and of course Chris Strobel and Lexie Anderson.

From there, the 3 couples performed again and then it was up to the audience to determine the winner. There was screaming, hollering, whistling and stomping. It was evident that Strobel and Anderson were taking home the trophy.

With applause from Strobel’s young daughters, wife and colleagues, the other contestants didn’t stand a chance.

“It feels great. Lexie and I worked hard for the short amount of time we had, and hopefully that was apparent,” Strobel said. “Being sore hasn’t ever felt so good.”

Gabe Cronon, Vice President of Student Involvement, acted as our very own Ryan Seacrest and hosted the event, adding humor and anticipation before each couple hit the dance floor.

Short clips of the couples practicing and introducing themselves started out each performance.

As promised by Tiffany Emerson, a communication graduate student and co-social chair of the Graduate Student Organization, the opening number, which included all five couples, was certainly unexpected, as the professors and student dancers put on their best rendition of Crank Dat Dance by Soulja Boy.

Overall, “Dancing with the Scholars” was an enjoyable event that was more about helping out a department and having a good time, than the pressure to win. Everyone had their favorites and not everyone agreed with the winners.

“I would have picked Sarah and Dr. Manning,” said Katharine Yowler a senior Theatre and English major. “I thought they improved more in the second round.”

Between the “Cupid Shuffle” dance contest for the audience during the intermission, the outrageous dance routines and Gabe Cronon’s extreme humor, this event was definitely a success and something to continue every year.

“As for doing it again, Lexie is a junior so she’ll still be around next year, and if they’ll allow us to defend our crown then I’m all for it. But only with her,” Strobel said.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Dancers swing to the top