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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Dance Wars Stuns Audience

    Throngs of students, faculty and staff assembled on the lawn of the Staller Center plaza to witness the first, annual “Dancing with SBU Stars” event during Campus Lifetime on Wednesday, April 23.

    The event, sponsored by the Commuter Student Association, Residence Hall Association, and the Dean of Students office, was the first of its kind to be held in during the 10-day long Shirley Strum Kenny Arts Festival.

    Sitting in the audience, Sarah Young, Director of Student Activities, said, “I think it’s going to be a great event. It’s a good idea to have faculty and staff to participate in a student event.”

    The event started at 1 p.m., and featured the talents of the Stony Brook University Dance Team, as well as such notables as Philosophy Department Chair and Professor Dr. Robert P. Crease and SBVAC President and 2007 Homecoming Queen Patricia Ng.

    The show was themed after ABC’s popular program “Dancing with the Stars,” with one twist. The dancers were divided into two teams, Team Stein and Team Fiore, named after faculty members and friendly rivals, Dean of Students Jerrold Stein and Director of Athletics Jim Fiore.

    “It’s a fun day out, and we wanted to put on an event for Campus Lifetime and make sure the campus gets involved,” Sushma Gaddam, a member of the Ballroom Dance Team, said. “I think events like this are important because students complain that there’s not enough going on on campus.”

    The Dance Team worked hard to bring the performance together, said dancer Nathalie Morales, working around students’ schedules and practicing for three weeks. They also accounted for the unexpected. Langmuir RHD and RHA Advisor Melissa Mastrogiovanni was a late stand-in. She learned her routine in the space of an hour.

    Each team competed in four dance categories: Foxtrot, tango, rumba, and cha-cha. Dancers from each team would step out onto the stage and show their dancing chops (and occasionally lose shoes) for the judges and audience. Afterwards, the judges — Assistant Dean of Students Jeff Barnett, Sister Margaret Ann Landry of Campus Ministry, and Assistant VP of Communications Yvette St. Jacques — would give positive feedback for the performers, complimenting their style, grace, and “hip action.”

    Sister Margeret Landry lauded the spectacle. “This is such an exciting event,” she said. “Something that will live on as a tradition at Stony Brook.”

    After the main event, the audience was allowed to vote for their favorite team while the performers went on with the show in an exhibition of swing and jive. With the votes cast, Team Fiore came out on top to much applause.

    Yesenia Gomez, an audience member, was most impressed with the Foxtrot. She saw the whole event as something that could bring people on campus together.

    Navneet Singh, a senior, President of the Dance Team and member of Team Stein, was pleased with the show. “I thought it was great. We definitely didn’t expect as many people as we had,” Singh said. “We knew it would be popular, but we didn’t expect this. We’re really happy to see everybody come out, and the greatest thing is that everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.”

    Dean of Students Jerrold Stein took his loss in stride, more impressed with seeing the growing community of students. “I don’t mind losing this event for the first time… it feels good that I won by seeing the crowd out there.”

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