Luke Kresslein ’15 is used to taking direction from Jennifer Smith, his academic advisor, instructor, and director of introductory labs in biology. But this semester he’s in charge—at least in part.
“Usually she’s the one telling me how to do things, like how to choose classes,” said Kresslein, a biology major from Baltimore. “Now I get to tell her how to do things. It’s interesting.”
Kresslein is teaching Smith the cha-cha for “Dancing with the Kenyon Stars,” to be held in Rosse Hall at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Students from the Ballroom Dance Club are paired with staff and faculty members to learn a dance such as swing or foxtrot. They practice all semester, then show off their moves at the event in front of judges and students who will cast their votes for the best dance of the night.
In addition to providing entertainment, the evening also serves as a fundraiser, said Ballroom Dance Club President Brandy Arredondo ’14, an anthropology major from Norfolk, Va. This year, the club is giving the money raised to Winter Sanctuary, a winter homeless shelter for men in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Others dancing this year include Mary Sturgis ’16 with Jonathan Tazewell, professor of drama; Tate Glover ’16 and Mia Barnett ’15 with Josh Fitzwater, director of social media; Bradley Raynor ’16 with college counselor Nicole Keller; Dakota Curry ’16 with Christina Haas, director of student activities and Greek life; and Meaghan Brennan ’15 with Juan DePascuale, associate professor of philosophy.
Smith admits she needed convincing when Kresslein asked her to be his partner at this year’s competition.
“I have never, ever danced anything formal in my life,” she said. “While the spirit was willing, the flesh might be weak.”
But Kresslein, who has been part of the club for three years, said she’s doing a great job.
“She’s worked really hard, and she’s been doing her homework,” he said.
Watching faculty and staff doing something outside of their regular jobs is a big draw for students.
“You never think those faculty members have that type of expression, then you see them onstage doing these fancy things,” said Arredondo. “It’s completely out of character.”
Smith said she’s excited for the event—in part for it to be over.
“I’m looking forward to the moment when I stop dancing,” she said, laughing. “I hope people will be applauding.”