Follow Her: To Emmanuel College Dancing with the Stars

When I attended Emmanuel College Dancing With the Stars and participated in Emmanuel College Dance Marathon my freshman year, I knew this cause was something that I’d love to get more involved with. Because of this, I was beyond thrilled when I received an email in January inviting me to participate in ECDWTS 2018. For those of you who have never been to this event, it is a fundraiser where popular Emmanuel faculty members are paired up with Emmanuel students who are involved in dance here at school. In my case, I was selected because of my participation in Emmanuel College’s musical productions and the COF Dance Program (and I was told it didn’t hurt that I’m an RA  who could encourage my residents to attend), and my partner Staisha is an Administrative Coordinator for Emmanuel. Each couple is given a dance style and competes in front of Emmanuel faculty and students, in addition to judges who determine the winner and who earns other awards such as “best costume” and “best song.” All of the money earned through ticket sales goes to Emmanuel College Dance Marathon’s profits which are all donated to Boston Children’s Hospital.

Once Staisha and I were partnered up, we were given our dance style and the theme of the show. The show was movie themed this year, which is the first year they have had a theme, and Staisha and I were given the style “ballaz,” a combination of ballet and jazz. After some brainstorming and researching of iconic films, I finally settled on using the song “What a Feeling” from one of my favorite 80s movies, Flashdance. Not only is the film about a woman who works as an exotic dancer (jazz) and follows her dream of being accepted into a prestigious dance conservatory (ballet), but “What a Feeling” is also the song my mom used for an aerobic dance routine for a pageant that she won in the 80s.

Every week leading up to the show, Staisha and I practiced for about an hour on Fridays in the Administration Building. I had so much fun creating and teaching the choreography, and our practices definitely made me feel better about skipping the gym on Fridays! I also enjoyed the challenge of helping someone without much of a dance background learn the number, but Staisha picked up the routine way more quickly than most non-dancers would! We also learned a dance for the opening number which we performed with the dance marathon team. The song was from The Greatest Showman, which is one of my new favorite movies, and definitely made the practices and show that much more fun-filled for me.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Badin

After seemingly endless curve balls and snow days were thrown at Dancing With the Stars, the big night finally arrived. Staisha and I were dressed to the nines in leggings, sneakers, leotards, off-the-shoulder tops, sweatbands and hair scrunchies. The dance marathon team looked polished and professional in black outfits paired with either black or gold footwear, the bleachers were packed, and EC Royalty and last year’s Emmanuel College Dancing With the Stars winners were ready to judge. I was nervous but filled with so much gratitude seeing many of my friends, classmates, residents from my floor, fellow Loretto Hall RAs, and favorite faculty members in the audience. After the opening number, Staisha and I were the first to dance and it felt great getting out there, dancing in the gym and hearing cheers from the crowd, all while knowing we were  helping a great cause. Although we didn’t win the competition, Staisha and I did win best song choice and most importantly, we had a great time!

My friends and I after Emmanuel College Dancing With the Stars

Thank you to the dance marathon team for giving me this opportunity to dance, dealing with my inability to cut my own music, catering to all of my prop needs (yes I made some of them dump buckets of confetti on Staisha and I to mimic the water bucket dance in Flashdance and then sweep it up after), and for being constantly high energy and adaptable to everything that came your way! Also, thank you to all of my friends, classmates and Emmanuel College faculty that came out to support us and raise money #ForTheKids. I can’t wait to go to Emmanuel College Dance Marathon this Friday!