During the few minutes Chance Berndt, student ambassador and junior in marketing and international studies, and Michelle Williams, junior in kinesiology, were on stage, the audience was riveted. The Union Program Council had indeed saved the best for last.
After their performance, Berndt and Williams were chosen as the winners of Dancing with the K-State Stars with a final score of 178 out of 180.
The sixth annual event, themed “Evolution of Dance,” featured nine duos performing routines to music from the 1960s to the 2000s. Each duo consisted of a K-State “star” and a student with dance experience.
“It was crazy. I would have never have guessed that we’d win,” Berndt said. “Michelle really deserves a lot of credit. She worked so hard.”
The duo’s routine, a tango set to “Tessellate” by Alt-J, received rave reviews from the judges’ panel that included YouTube star Judson Laipply; associate professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance David Ollington; and Donita Whitney-Bammerlin an instructor from the department of management.
“There wasn’t a better dance to end the night,” Ollington said during his review of the dance.
The dance, which Williams predominately choreographed, started with a short scene of a love triangle between Williams, Berndt and a third man, played by Chris Zimmerman, senior in music education.
“We chose ‘Tessallate,’ and I thought of a love triangle,” Williams said. “I tried to incorporate that into the dance in different parts.”
Berndt said he felt that the performance was, “something you wouldn’t expect from us.”
“You wouldn’t expect a tango that’s angry,” Berndt said. “It turned out better than I thought it would. I thought I’d mess up at least once, but I didn’t.”
Ollington described the duo’s performance as “riveting.”
“I was glued to it,” he said in his review of the dance.
Combination of decades, music
Christina Hurtado, coordinator for student development for the department of housing and dining, and her partner Zimmerman also won the judges’ attention with their waltz to “Say Something” by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera.
They received the next highest score from the judge’s initial reviews, after Berndt and Williams.
“It was nerve wracking,” Hurtado said. “We were glad when it was over, but it was definitely a lot of fun.”
Other performances included Katy Zapletal, admissions representative, and Joey Boos, senior in theater, with a 1960s jazz routine; Adam Miller, admissions representative, and Janet Galloway, graduate student in family studies and human services, with a 1970s salsa performance; and Brett Eichman, senior in music education and marching band assistant drum major, and Jamie Teixeira, junior in English, with a 1980s jazz routine.
“As the drum major, he doesn’t dance,” Marissa Archuleta, senior in music education, said. “It was out of his element. It was cool to see him incorporate some of the band stuff with some of [Teixeira’s] stuff.”
Paige Wright, junior in elementary education, said she was impressed with Eichman’s and other’s performances.
“He did pretty dang well,” Wright said. “Everyone did really well.”
Other performances included a 1990s hip hop performance by Brett Seidl, co-chair of the Your Union campaign and senior in public relations, and Grace Pierson, sophomore in theater; a 1970s modern routine performed by Kaitlyn Dewell, Miss K-State 2013 and senior in journalism, and Carolyn Fitzgibbons, senior in theater; a 1980s county-swing routine by Kaitlin Long, Student Governing Association Speaker Pro Tem and senior in entrepreneurship, and Isaac Spear, sophomore in engineering; and a 1990s hip hop-step routine by Allie Niederee, K-State Proud co-chair and junior in kinesiology, and Mikel Neil, senior in kinesiology.
Following the performances, guest judge Laipply, comedian and star of the YouTube hit “Evolution of Dance,” performed his viral hit. His performance updated the original YouTube version, posted eight years ago, and included more modern hits such as Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe,” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
All the dancers were brought back on to the stage for the announcement of the winners following Laipply’s performance.
While waiting for the reveal, Williams said she was wasn’t sure where they had landed in the standings.
“It was really unexpected,” she said. “But it was awesome.”