Show Us What You Do
Dancers Studio’s Farewell to Bonnie Inveen
By Libby Ryan
The Disco Fever Summer Showcase at Dancers Studio hit a bittersweet note as owner Marcy McHenry revealed to the audience that this showcase would be the last for one of the studio’s instructors. Bonnie Inveen, whose ten years at the studio earned her a special place in the hearts of all her students, was moving to Boston.
“We had to hire four new girls to replace this one girl,” McHenry said near the end of the show before the last performance of the night.
It was not difficult to see why four new instructors were needed to fill the spot currently held by Inveen. She danced in almost every heat of the showcase, not to mention the eight solos she performed with her students.
“I wish I could move like you,” McHenry told Inveen before the showcase audience. She shimmied for emphasis. “And shake it like you!”
Inveen’s performance with Quang Nguyen confirmed what McHenry meant. The piece blended together smooth foxtrot and hip-hop choreography to a remix of “I’ve Got Rhythm.” Nguyen’s hip-hop solo earlier in the night wowed the audience, and this exciting mashup number showcased his and Inveen’s wide range as dancers.
Pete Langworthy, one of Inveen’s many dance partners of the evening, called her out onto the floor to receive a bouquet of flowers from all of her students.
“When I go out social dancing around the Twin Cities,” Langworthy told the Disco Fever spectators, “Everywhere I go, when I say my teacher is Bonnie, everyone says, ‘Oh, Bonnie? She is so sweet.’”
There were murmurs of agreement from around the room, and the men waiting on the dance floor to express their own gratitude to their teacher nodded.
Langworthy danced four dances with Inveen during the smooth and standard freestyle rounds, along with more than fifteen other freestyle-round dancers.
Also demonstrating their international standard skills were Michael Kasinkas and Taylor Wall. The couple showed off their gold ballroom choreography in waltz, tango, foxtrot, and quickstep.
Nels Petersen and Theresa Kimler performed five American smooth dances, exhibiting the unique mixture of athleticism and elegance that characterizes the couple’s dancing and that recently won them their sixteenth national title.
For a graceful standard waltz, McHenry paired with Nic Westlake. After a quick costume change, they returned for a classic quickstep filled with intricate footwork.
Westlake acted as the MC of the night, and former Dancers Studio instructor Chris Kempainen returned to perform and DJ for the showcase. Both Wall and Kasinkas also held double roles throughout the night, like many of the studio’s talented past and present employees.
“This is where I got my start,” Inveen said to the audience in response to McHenry’s announcement, with a nostalgic smile. “When I first started here at Dancers Studio, I didn’t know what I was getting into.”
What she got into was a place where she would dance themed number after themed number, including a piece called “Funky,” where both she and her partner wore disco-era wigs. Craig Hagensick had an afro, and Inveen wore long, bright red curls.
Keeping with the ‘70s theme, the entire Dancers Studio staff performed a group number to “Boogie Fever.” The group wore sequined dresses and brightly colored shirts, everyone taking advantage of the flamboyant theme to add their own extra bit of pizazz during the choreographed solo moments.
Ending with a group pose, it was easy to see the enthusiasm of the new staff members and dedication from long-time instructors. McHenry stood at the center, smiling around at all her employees.
As the evening drew to a close, McHenry announced the last performance of the night: a west coast swing routine by Inveen and Kempainen.
“I hope one day to dance like you,” McHenry said before the couple took the floor. “Show us what you do, Bonnie.”
Inveen and Kempainen danced to “I Want You Back,” a playful cover of The Jackson 5 song by Colbie Caillat. The contagious charm of their dancing and genuine smiles lit up the room; they were having fun, and everyone watching could feel it too.
The final notes of the song ended, leaving Kempainen and Inveen on the dance floor to see the audience on their feet in a resounding standing ovation.