Feb 092012
Authors: Courtney Riley

College deans at CSU aren’t usually spotted dancing to music by the Beach Boys with a boogie board and dressed in Hawaiian shirts, backwards hats and beach shoes.

But this weekend, Jeff McCubbin, the dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences, is performing in a Hawaiian-themed swing dance choreographed by Jessica Freestone for the Canyon Concert Ballet’s “Dancing with the Stars of Fort Collins.”

The event is a fundraiser for the Canyon Concert Ballet, a non-profit organization, that aims to “create and share the passion of dance through artistically enriching performances and dance education,” according to the company’s mission statement.

The Sunset Event Center is hosting “Dancing with the Stars of Fort Collins” Saturday night. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased through the company or at the door Saturday night.

“Sometimes fundraisers can be kind of just a dinner and maybe a silent auction, which is great,” said Kim Lang, the executive director of the Canyon Concert Ballet, “but the entertainment factor is really fast-paced, and (it’ll be) a really fun night for everyone.”

The CSU dean doesn’t have a strong background in dancing, but McCubbin has always enjoyed it socially.

“My wife and I have taken a couple of dance classes before,” he said. “But I’m certainly not a dancer.”

The Canyon Concert Ballet matched 10 local dancing stars with Fort Collins residents to produce an event resembling ABC’s hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” People can pay $1 to vote for their favorite couple, and the pair that earns the most votes wins a trophy. All of the money goes toward the ballet company to fund the costs of sets, costumes and choreography for future performances.

Although McCubbin is excited to dance in the show and support a nonprofit organization, his involvement was not initially his idea.

A friend and donor of the College of Applied Human Sciences introduced the idea to McCubbin’s wife and asked if he’d be interested.

“Before I knew it, they decided it’d be a good thing for me to do. It think it’s a good thing, supporting a nonprofit organization in Fort Collins. But I didn’t cook up the idea, that’s for sure,” he laughed.

McCubbin’s dance partner is Chelsea McCall, a CSU alumnus and an active performing arts dancer in Fort Collins.

In addition to McCubbin and McCall’s 1960’s-themed swing routine, other couples are performing tango, salsa, blues, jazz and waltz dances.

“We have numbers from all over the board,” Lang said. “It’s a big word-of-mouth chain. We try to get lots of different people from different walks of life.”

Similar to the TV show, each couple films a minute-and-a-half video clip introducing themselves.

“We were really laughing with that. It was pretty funny to try to put together our dance video,” McCubbin said. “We were doing some CSU cheers with green and gold pom poms. We probably looked pretty dorky, actually, but we were having a lot of fun with it.”

But McCubbin and McCall aren’t the only two performers representing CSU in the show.

Connie Hanrahan, the president of the CSU Ram Club, is paired up with two Fort Collins dance stars, Lonnie Person and Stacy Montes.

Hanrahan got a phone call from the ballet asking her to participate, and has been practicing for the big show since December.

“I basically traded out all the time I spend at the gym,” she said, adding that she has spent five to seven hours a week practicing with Person and Montes.

Hanrahan’s performance, choreographed by Montes, is a soft-show, Fred Astaire–style swing dance to “Singin’ in the Rain.”

“I’m a big time beginner,” she said. “It really takes a long time just to learn three moves. It’s a long process.”

McCubbin said he’s not nervous for the big night now, but he probably will be a little bit before he takes center stage.

“I often speak in front of crowds, but I’m not used to being a dancer and interacting with a crowd in that way,” he said. “I have no idea what to anticipate Saturday night; it should be fun.”

For Hanrahan, her stress mainly comes from hoping she can gather a lot of votes to raise money for the company.

“If I could be in the top three, I’d be ecstatic,” she said. “I’m nervous more so for the choreographer. She worked so hard –– I don’t want to embarrass her.”

Entertainment Editor Courtney Riley can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

What: Dancing with the Stars of Fort Collins
Where: Sunset Event Center
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Cost: $50, call 970-472-4156 or purchase at the door
Vote for your favorite couple online at www.ccballet.org for $1

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