Dancing with the professors strikes again

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Dancing with the Professors came back with a bang Friday night after a brief four-year hiatus. The Brown Ballroom Team’s spin on the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars took seven of Brown’s beloved faculty members and whipped them into ballroom ready shape over the course of the semester. Each faculty member performed a 90 second choreographed dance routine with a student member of the Brown Ballroom Team. The winner was determined by a panel of judges and by audience vote. The night was a great success with fun costumes, crowd-pleasing music, and a slew of talented students and faculty.

The student faculty pairings were Bjorn Sandstede (Applied Math) and Lauren Chan, David Cane (Chemistry) and Julia Tatiyatrairong, Michael Littman (Computer Science) and Quynh Tran, Michael Stewart (English) and Angelia Wang, Monica Linden (Neuroscience) and Kevin O’Farrell, Rachel Toncelli (English Language Learning) and Michael Scheer, and Tom Doeppner (Computer Science) and Madeline Price.

The panel of judges consisted of Christine Harvey, Professor Barrett Hazeltine, and Professor Barbara Tannenbaum. Christine Harvey had the most ballroom experience and immediately distinguished herself as the “bad judge.” She was clearly the Simon Cowell of the group. Barrett Hazeltine (bless his heart), Professor Emeritus, never had a negative word to say about anyone. Barbara Tannenbaum was a former participant in Dancing with the Profs back in 2010, so her feedback was much appreciated.

Each couple started off with a short Dancing with the Stars style video before their routine. The videos were very cute and informal–it was apparent that the students and faculty truly got along. Some of the faculty had previous dance experience (Professor Cane has been dancing for eight years!) while others agreed to the event on a whim, or, in the case of Professor Toncelli, by the persuasion of her children.

Highlights from the night included a sudden song change in Professor Linden’s piece to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana and a complicated move by Quynh and Professor Littman that involved Professor Littman sliding all the way through Quynh’s legs.

Professor Littman and Quynh Tran won the whole event (their dance was my personal favorite) but Professor Toncelli and Michael Scheer were the runners-up by only one vote! All of the performances were lively and fun, making the night a great success. If you missed it this time around, definitely check it out next year!

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