‘Sassy, ​​hot’ wins Minnesota Ballet’s Celebrity Dance Challenge – Reuters

Sheena Guzzo and pro Alex Loch teamed up for a sassy dance filled with big oopsy faces, hip checks and a pinch of butt to win the People’s Choice award on Thursday at Minnesota Ballet’s Celebrity Dance Challenge.

Guzzo, senior buyer at Les Maurices de Jour, filled up with humor during 2 minutes of choreography. The duo played rivals at a dance: Guzzo wore a skirt ready to twirl, Loch – shirt open so far – peeked out from under the pleats. She started shaking, he made an antenna, and they faced each other. They were coming and going.

At the decisive moment, Loch went from a handstand to a horizontal plank pose, his feet in Guzzo’s hands. She threw them up and the contemporary gymnast-acrobat-dancer escaped.

“You sold that,” Judge Andrea Kuzel said afterwards. “It was sassy, ​​hot, sometimes inappropriate – but that’s why I loved it.”

Minnesota Ballet’s annual fundraiser paired 11 familiar faces from the community — with varying skill levels — with professionals who are mostly from the company. Thursday night’s show at the Fregeau auditorium had a local chef fooling around with Christina Aguilera, a journalist performing lift after lift after lift, a community relations worker from Kern and Kompany who brought her children to the stage.

And there was a parting gift: glow sticks.

Jonathan Reznick and Dominique Jenssen perform hip hop/cha-cha. Clint Austin / TSD

Jonathan Reznick, perhaps best known for the teriyaki pulled pork he serves at his food truck, the Rambler, and partner Dominique Jenssen performed hip-hop/cha-cha dressed in matching yellow jumpsuits with face masks. dust. The performance, to Missy Elliott’s “Pass the Dutch,” was straight out of MTV’s early years and won the judges’ top prize.

“Well, wow,” Judge Jayme Hartman said afterward. “Every doggone beat was fabulous.”

When asked where it was harder to breathe: in a food truck or on stage, a breathless Reznick replied, “I can breathe a lot easier in a food truck. Oof. What was the question?”

Reznick’s choreographer Darren Franco took home the award for best choreography – a prize shared with Dan Westfield, who created a contemporary piece for Joe Gregorich and Brigid Duffin.

News Tribune reporter Jimmy Lovrien mastered the lifts and spotted his partner Sarah White as she tossed and turned around her body during their White-choreographed swing dance.

Lindsay Kern’s boppy, expressive jive with Tyler Piwowarczyk included an appearance by Kern’s daughters, Reagan, 11, and Paisley, 7 – who claim to be comfortable on stage.

“You have the kindness factor,” Judge Mary Gummerson said. “Your girls were awesome. Jive is tough and fast and the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Martha’s Daughter’s Nyanyika Banda played jazz/funk alongside Branson Bice and went wild like she was alone in her own kitchen.

Charlie Deville took a page from Oprah Winfrey’s playbook. The president of the Lincoln Park Business Group bought enough glow sticks to tape one to the bottom of each seat in the auditorium. The rave effect played well with the silver-on-silver disco flavor he — silver tank top, silver pants, sunglasses — and partner Emma Stratton — silver dress, sunglasses — found at Ragstock. Multi-colored drumsticks shone during the ballet-ballroom fusion on an epic moon landing instrumental.

  • Jury’s choice: Jonathan Reznick and Dominique Jenssen
  • Best Choreography: Dan Westfield and Darren Franco
  • Best Authenticity: Charlie Deville and Emma Stratton
  • Best partner: Jimmy Lovrien and Sarah White
  • Best Stage Presence: Nyanyika Banda and Branson Bice
  • Best Use of Rhythm: Kristen Vake and Sam Neale
  • Highest level of difficulty: Reznick and Jenssen
  • The funniest: Sheena Guzzo and Alex Loch
  • The most elegant: Kim Bailey and Charles Clark
  • Most Entertaining: Marcia Doty and Brennan Benson
  • The most enthusiastic: Lindsay Kern and Tyler Piwowarczyk
  • The most interpretative: Anne Stephen and Eric Pagnano
  • The most romantic: Joe Gregorich and Brigid Duffin