Dancing with the Aggie Stars premieres at USU


For the first time ever, the USUSA Programming Office and President’s Cabinet will be co-sponsoring “Dancing with the Aggie Stars.”

The event, which will take place on Monday, is the brainchild of programming vice president Sawyer Hemsley and President’s Cabinet member Ricky Coles.

Much like the popular television show, “Dancing with the Stars,” choreographers from around campus are working with nine USU stars to create nine polished dance routines.

“To have the ability to say, ‘Yes, I want to dance in front of USU students’ — that takes a lot,” Coles said.

When student services vice president James Morales was asked to participate, he said he was “enthusiastically, overwhelmingly happy.”

“I like people to understand that the vice president for student services doesn’t mind making a fool of himself in public — that they know I’m an approachable person,” Morales said. “I hope this helps them to see that I’m just like them, and I can dance a little bit.”

Morales, who is Mexican, did dance as a child and teenager — Bollywood, however, is nothing like what he did growing up.

“I’m a little sore,” he said. “I’ve got the routine. I’m already sort of dreaming it. So it’s getting to the point where I think I’ll get it down.”

In addition to helping plan the event, Coles will be performing a hip hop number with Jake Van Den Akker, the student orientation and advising registration director.

“I’m not really that nervous, because I’ve done quite a few performances in front of crowds,” Coles said. “I’m probably more nervous for Jake because he’s never danced before. As long as he has fun, then I think then we’ll be able to do great.”

Coles is friends with Mykel Beorchia, who will be performing a disco routine with her choreographer, Marcos Garcia.

“She’s just been talking a lot of her game up, so we’ll see how she performs,” he said.

Jeannie Woller, former USU soccer player, is also competitive. Woller said she is nervous, though, because she has never danced. She will be performing a Tahitian number with Kesaia Matangi.

“I was really shocked because that is hilarious to me that I would ever do that,” Woller said. “Being considered a ‘star’ is also weird to me — it’s kind of comical.”

Alex Geddes has been choreographing a cha cha routine for student involvement and leadership associate director Kevin Webb.

“I got a little nervous when they told me I would be doing the cha cha, because I’ve never done ballroom or anything like that,” Geddes said. “It’s been kind of like the blind leading the blind, with us both researching and helping each other.”

Webb said he is most nervous about his “complete and total lack of any dance experience or ability.” He is hoping to win, but said he doesn’t have any real expectation to win.

“I don’t think I’m that much of a star on campus. I’m just like a guy that works in an office — but it’s fine. I’m excited,” he said.

“Kevin Webb is a big deal,” Coles said.

In addition to being the associate director for student involvement, Webb advises the Greek community at Utah State. In different ways, all of the stars are involved on campus.

“I think this will just kind of be a cool exposition of all these different people that aren’t normally on the stage ever,” Woller said. “I’m really excited to see employees of the university have to get up and dance. I think that’s going to be fantastic.”

Also participating are admissions head Katie Jo Nielson, performing the Salsa with Alex Aburto; USU defensive end Eric “Bernie” Berntson, performing the Samba with Lexi Howe; USUSA student body president Trevor Sean Olsen, performing the tango with Amanda Berrett; and Miss USU Rachel Hilton, performing the jive with Joe Aratari.

“With the exception of one competitor, I think we’re all just going out to have fun,” Webb said. “Dr. Morales has expressed very clearly that he’s in it to win it. So I hope he wins. Unless I can win somehow. Then I hope I win.”

“I only get into these things to win,” Morales said. “I am competitive by nature. It’s going to be fun, regardless of the outcome.”

“Dancing with the Aggie Stars” will be held in the TSC Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Monday.


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