As I mentioned in an earlier post, SUU Dancing with the Stars is one of the funnest events to participate and attend at SUU. I have made some lifelong friends by participating in this exciting event. Once the process begins with the first day of rehearsal you can’t blink because it will be over before you know it. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.
Tommy Gugino, the reigning DWTS champ, wrote up a little something about his experience with the competition. He is just such an amazing guy!
SUU Dancing with the Stars: Tommy’s Story
“If someone would have told me when I started rehearsal in January for SUU’s Dancing with the Stars competition that I would win, I would’ve thought they were lying. Even now, almost a month after the competition I’m still shocked that I won the contest.
When people first look at me, they often don’t think of me as a performer. Surprising to most people, I have an extensive background in performing. From choir, to theatre, and even a little dance (mostly in theatre), I have loved performing from the time I was in elementary school even to this day.
Ryann first approached me last August about doing Dancing with the Stars (I honestly thought she was kidding). I felt nervous about the opportunity because it had been forever since I had last performed (my freshmen year of college to be exact), but I decided it would be a great opportunity to try something new. Eventually, when she asked me to compete again, I told her I would do it.
We started rehearsing in January, where I started learning the lindy hop, which I thought would be impossible to learn. Fortunately I picked up the moves fast and we learned and solidified the routine quickly, despite making little tweaks to the routine throughout the process (Ryann would call them her “thoughts”).
Finally after weeks of rehearsing it was time to compete and show off our routine. After Ryann and I performed during the first round, I thought we did great. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up with one of the top 2 scores, which left our fate in the hands of the audience who would have to vote us into the next round. At that point I thought for sure we wouldn’t get through to the final round.
To my surprise, Ryann and I got enough audience votes to make it through to the final round. When we danced in the final round, I thought it was the best we had ever done the routine. I remember feeling the energy of the audience and being so grateful for the applause throughout the routine and the support of my amazing partner.
After the audience went to vote for the last time and a short intermission, we were lined up once again to see who won. When our names were announced I remember turning to Ryann and giving her the biggest hug while jumping up and down and confetti falling on our heads. Many hugs from other contests, friends, and family soon followed the win.
Looking back on my Dancing with the Stars experience, I am so grateful to Ryann for convincing me to do it. She helped me to feel comfortable and confident dancing in an arena with hundreds of people staring down at me. Through this experience, I gained an incredible lifelong friend in Ryann who continues to amaze me with her ballroom performances.
Now, that Dancing with the Stars is over with, many people have asked if I’ll dance again. The answer to that for now is I don’t know, but I would definitely say yes to dancing with Ryann again.”