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Bringing the Heat at Dancing with the MU Stars

Friday, April 26, 2013
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Marymount University is the home of the Saints, but on April 20, the stars came out when the university hosted the second annual Dancing with the MU Stars. In the Marymount version of the hit television show, seven talented members of the Marymount community hit the boards to display their dancing talents. And it was all for a good cause. The competition raised $900 for the MU Presidential Assistance Fund, which helps students who encounter unexpected financial hardship.

The Marymount contestants were paired with professional dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Washington, DC, and tackled everything from the waltz and tango to the samba and fox trot.

The Contestants
- Dr. Brian Flanagan, assistant professor of theology, who kicked off the show with the samba with his dance partner Kylie Lang.
- Clare DiNuzzo, an assistant director of student activities tackled one of the more challenging dances, the Viennese waltz, with her partner Kinan Mihyar.
- Dr. Bob Meden, professor of interior design, wowed the crowd with his moves with Missy Nilson dancing the tango.
- Komal Choudhary ʼ15 and her partner Jason Rushing stunned the audience by dancing the cha-cha to a rendition of “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga.
- Matt Shuman ʼ14 danced the foxtrot with Katya Naiman.
- Anusha Sunkara ʼ15 tackled the merengue with her partner Kinan Mihyar.
- Carmen Guevera from Sodexo (Gerard Dining Hall) and her partner Severyn Szapiaczan blew the house away with the bachata, a dance from the Dominican Republic.

The Winners
The night ended in a surprise tie for the winner. Both Matt Shuman and Clare DiNuzzo earned top scores. With only one mirror ball on hand, Dr. Chris Domes, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management, quickly said that the university would purchase another to fully recognize such outstanding Marymount talent.

A Marymount Family Affair
The dance competition is truly a Marymount family affair. The dance instruction, use of the studio, and the participation of the professional dancers were made possible by the generosity of Maria Coakley David, the owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, who is also a Marymount alumna and trustee. The stunning costumes were generously provided by Julia Wilson, owner of Encore Ballroom Couture.

During breaks in the dance competition, the audience was treated to surprise performances by more talented members of the Marymount community. Vincent Stovall, director of student activities, opened the show, dancing with Missy Nilson. Later, Marymount’s own Muse singers performed Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy to the trumpet accompaniment of Woody Wingfield from the development office and swing dancers Claire Morrison ʼ13 and Will Shingler ʼ13.

A final, special performance was given by Joey Gardner ʼ15 and Jimmy Gallahan ʼ15, who danced to Yong Kwon’s version of the 2012 hit “Gangnam Style.” Many in the audience joined in the fun, dancing alongside Joey and Jimmy.
 
Story by Bob Brown '15
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PHOTO CAPTIONS
PHOTO 1
- Matt Shuman ʼ14 dances the foxtrot with Katya Naiman
PHOTO 2 - Dr. Chris Domes, left, congratulates the winners, Matt Shuman and Clare DiNuzzo.
PHOTO 3 - Dr. Brian Flanagan dances the samba with Kylie Lang.
PHOTO 4 – The dancers pose for a group photo.