K-State stars show off their dance moves

Carolyn Fitzgibbons, dance instructor at Tiptoz, and her partner Nathan Lauden dance during the 2015 Dancing with the K-State Stars in McCain Auditorium on Feb. 10, 2015. All three judges gave their performance a perfect 10, and they ended up winning the competition. (George Walker | The Collegian)

Just a few weeks ago, six K-State “star” students were selected by the Union Program Council to perform in this years show. Each was assigned to a professional dancer, who taught and choreographed the danced performed.

The performance series began in 2009 as an at-home version of ABC’s famous “Dancing with the Stars.” Since then, many talented men and women have graced the UPC stage.

After some intense competition, Nathan Laudan, senior in food sciences and industry and K-state student ambassador, and his partner, Carolyn Fitzgibbons, senior in theater and kinesiology, beat out the other couples for the coveted mirrorball trophies with an emotional modern piece.

“I’m still trying to figure out how we managed to get perfect 10s,” Laudan said.

Fitzgibbons echoed his words, as the realization that they won slowly sunk in.

All couples had only two weeks to choreograph and perfect their dances for the main stage. Some teams took advantage of the limited time practicing multiple times.

“We practiced about five times,” Samuel Edwards, sophomore in mass communications, said. “About two hours each practice, so only 10 hours.”

Edwards and his partner, Grace Pierson, junior in theater, secured second place after an explosive hiphop dance.

This year, the competition was fierce. The show was packed with fast-paced hip-hop, graceful modern and for the first time ever, tap.

Each year that the show progresses, the UPC tries to change up the show to keep returning audience members and judges entertained. Ben Hopper, director of Greek Affairs, former UPC director and first-time judge, said the show stays refreshing and different every year by adding a new style, incorporating a different theme or simply trying something new.

“The philosophy of the show is that every year we do something different,” Hopper said. “We had live interviews, which was really cool and tap was a new style added.”

This year, not only did audience members get to see early practices and interactions between the couples, they got to hear and see the reactions to the scoring.

“This collaboration between Wildcat Watch and Union Program Council has been here since the beginning,” Morgan Huelsman, senior in mass communications, said.

After all the new features added this season, it was still the dances that captivated the audience members and judges. Rebecca Hickey, senior in marketing, and Abby Zohner, senior in architecture, said they were impressed by all the dances.

“The hip-hop was my favorite dance,” Zohner said. “But the winners deserved it.”

Hickey agreed that although Pierson and Edwards hip-hop dance was a crowd pleaser, it was Fitzgibbons and Laudan’s modern piece that stole the audience’s heart.

“The people that won were great,” Hickey said. “I felt the emotion in the last dance come alive.”

My name is Jamie Teixeira and I am a senior English and journalism with a minor in Leadership. I am the president of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, a tutor at the K-State Writing Center,and a member of the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble. My future plans are to become an editor or publisher of children's literature. Outside of school I love to read and cuddle with my kitten, Bert.