Students benefit from Dancing With the Professors

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Features Editor
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – Students became the teachers at Dancing With the Professors All-Stars in the Highlander Theatre Sunday night as seven UCM professors teamed up with students to perform dance styles ranging from tap to disco.
Mike Makara, assistant professor of political science, and his partner, theatre performance student Samantha Davin, took home the first-place trophy for their hip-hop and contemporary dances. They also won the Most Money Raised award that added five extra bonus points to their overall score. This was Makara’s second time in a row winning DWTP.
“Is there a miscount?” Makara joked after receiving the award. “No, it really feels fantastic.”
Makara said his performances this year focused on telling a story. His first performance, a hip-hop dance, told the story of a professor trying to get his student to pay attention in class and involved break-dancing and techno beats.
“Dr. Makara, those moves were really difficult, the stalls and those sorts of things,” said judge and associate professor of dance Ashley Miller-Scully. “And to be able to master that in such a short amount of time was really impressive.”
UCM President Chuck Ambrose and assistant football coach Chuck Clemens also served as judges. Makara and Davin received a score of 26 out of 30 for their first dance and 27 out of 30 for their second.
Wendy Geiger, chair and professor of the department of sociology, gerontology and cross disciplinary studies, and her partner, speech communication and theater major Dalton Pittenger, won best dressed. The Judges Choice award went to Star Nance, assistant professor of social studies education, and her partner, theater student Isamo Manuel.
Manuel, who has competed in DWTP for three years, said he and his partner practiced twice a week for the competition.
“My professor loves to dance so we have…two rehearsals of an hour and 30 minutes for a week,” Manuel said. “Generally we start rehearsing around mid-March and then really tie (it) down (in) April.”
DWTP was hosted by the UCM Dance Club as part of their annual fundraiser. Alexandria Petty, the vice president of UCM Dance Club, said money raised at the event helps dancers attend the American College Dance Association, a week-long conference where dancers learn different styles of dance from professors from across the nation.
“Every year we have ACDA, where we bring 10 dancers to a dance conference so we can network for future jobs and careers in dance,” Manuel said.
At the end of the night, Lisa Fiori, the evening’s master of ceremonies, announced that the UCM Dance Club raised more than $2,000 from the competition.