April 23, 2020
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Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 mastered her rock step, triple step. She learned to make her hand motions dramatic. And she went to five stores to find a satin dress with the right amount of flare when she spins.
When professors and administrators learn ballroom dance moves, that means it’s time for Dancing with the Kenyon Stars. The event Dec. 4 in Rosse Hall paired faculty and staff with members of the Ballroom Dance Club for dances including the tango and the rumba. People made donations to vote for their favorite dance, and the $886 raised will go to the Winter Sanctuary, a homeless shelter in nearby Mount Vernon.
The winning dance at the showcase, in its fifth year, was a cha-cha danced to "Uptown Funk" by Eric Niehans '16 of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and Vice President for College Relations Heidi McCrory, who gained the audience’s favor with a purple boa and a high kick.
Bonham danced the East Coast swing with Bradley Raynor ’16, vice president of the club, to the ultra-popular Meghan Trainor song “All About That Bass.”
She said she’s never seen the popular TV show Dancing with the Stars, and her last dance experience was ballet class when she was 4. “But I have a new appreciation of the form and the art of ballroom dancing because it’s a workout, and I had no idea how much precision and attention to detail and athleticism it entails.”
Raynor, a double major in film and international studies from Rockville, Maryland, participated in ballroom dance as an extracurricular in middle school. At Kenyon, he’s learned a dozen different dances and instructs new members of the club, which participates in collegiate competitions throughout the year.
Raynor, who missed Dancing with the Kenyon Stars only in his junior year when studying in Uganda, said moving from a student role to instructing others has been rewarding. “I've had the best time teaching faculty and administrators to ballroom dance. They are so excited to learn from us, and we are so excited to work with them.”
The rest of the contestants:
Professor of Dance Balinda Craig-Quijada; Associate Provost Ivonne García; Tessie Prakas, visiting assistant professor of English; and last year's winner, Lee Schott, assistant director of career development