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 Kelly Kirk, instructor of history, and her partner BHSU student Brennen Javorsky, corporate communication major from Spearfish, are one of nine teams participating in the Dancing with the Staff competition Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. on the BHSU campus. The event is sponsored by the University Programing student organization with all proceeds from the event going to the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund.

Black Hills State University faculty, staff and students will be swinging, jiving and tapping their feet as they battle it out for the coveted BHSU mirror ball trophy while at the same time raising money for local ranchers.

The Dancing with the Staff, a spoof of ABC’s popular “Dancing with the Stars” show, takes place Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Jacket Legacy Room of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. Tickets are $2 for students and $5 for non-students with all proceeds going to the Rancher Relief Fund. The event is sponsored by the University Programming (UP) student organization.

The South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund was established last October to provide support and financial assistance to those in the agriculture industry impacted by Winter Storm Atlas.

“We really want to somehow help Ranchers Relief because lots of people on the UP team are involved in some sort of farming or ranching back home,” said Jessie Gramm, exercise science major from Burlington, Colo. “We also know that a big population of the students at BHSU also have families in the industry.”  Gramm added that they decided to do the event in the spring because the financial need for the ranchers and farmers will remain high especially as the talk of the storm fades.

The competition features eight teams comprised of BHSU faculty and staff from various University departments paired with students from the BHSU dance team and swing dancing club. The night will include a behind-the-scenes video about the team’s preparations, short interviews with the “professional” and the “star” about how they feel the event will go for their team, eight amazing acts, audience participation, and featured dances by the Jackets. The three judges for the competition include two dancers from the community and one mystery star judge.

“At the end of the night, the audience gets to choose their favorite dance through a Facebook poll that will be generated through our UP team Facebook page,” Gramm said.

Kelly Kirk, instructor of history, and her partner BHSU student Brennen Javorsky, corporate communication major from Spearfish, will be performing the eight-count Lindy Hop, an American dance evolving in Harlem in the 1920s and 30s. The dance is frequently described as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family which may give Kirk an edge because although she has never seen “Dancing with the Stars” she has done some swing dancing. Her experience comes from growing up in North Dakota where swing dancing and the polka were danced at nearly every wedding. However, it took a little coaxing to get Kirk to agree to the competition. “I’m not a public dancer,” Kirk said noting weddings are a little different than dancing in front of friends and colleagues.”

Javorsky said Kirk has been a great student and has helped in choreographing the dance to Moon Hooch’s Number 9.

 “It’s a little nerve-wracking because it is a fast-paced, energetic dance,” Kirk said. The team has been practicing several times a week and is incorporating some crowd pleasers into their routine. “We are going all in,” she said.

Another team is Nolan Schneider, admissions representative, and Ashley Grable, corporate communication major from Rapid City. Schneider said yes right away when asked to participate in the event because it’s a fundraiser for local ranchers. “I am always keen to help/volunteer when asked to do so,” he said. “However, about a week after saying yes, it dawned on me that I would be dancing, and not just by myself, but in front of a large group of people.”

Schneider has no dance experience, and like Kirk, has never seen “Dancing with the Stars”; however, he has seen the famous dance scene from Pulp Fiction which is the dance routine he and Grable will perform. “It is lucky that the routine is easy and well known, because we have yet to practice with eight days remaining until the performance,” he said. “I am really more nervous than anything. I typically find myself sweaty-palmed when I think about it.”

The following faculty and staff are competing along with the student dancers:

·         Jane Klug, director of the Student Union, and Dustin Hull, history major from Rapid City; Watch their clip.

·         Kelly Kirk, instructor of history, and Brennen Javorsky, corporate communication major from Spearfish; Watch their clip.

·         Melissa Haught, student success advisor, and Teddy Langhout, outdoor education major from Woodbury, Minn.; Watch their clip.

·         Briane Kruckenberg, catering coordinator, and Bryan Shurigar, psychology major from North Platte, Neb.; 

·         Mike Jastorff, director of the bookstore, and Tifany Petersen, biology major from Rapid  City; Watch their clip.

·         Nolan Schneider, admissions representative, and Ashley Grable, corporate communication major from Rapid City; Watch their clip.

·         Robert Dooley, director of dining services, and Emily Nelson, psychology major from Belle Fourche; Watch their clip.

·         John Reiners, head football coach and instructor of physical education, and Sarah Goehring, physical education major from Buffalo, Wyo.; Watch their clip. and

·         John Ginther, residence life West Complex director, and Katelyn Petersen, elementary education major from Rapid City. Watch their clip.