CVM Professor Masters New Moves to Support the Arts
Loren Schultz works with food animals, but he is a “hoofer” in his own right. Schultz, DVM, MS, devotes his days to four-legged creatures, but has been leaving all that jazz behind during recent evenings to cut loose on his own two feet.
An associate teaching professor of Food Animal Medicine and Surgery at MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Schultz is preparing for the 12th annual Dancing with Missouri Stars (DWMS), a mid-Missouri version of the popular television show and a fundraiser for Missouri Contemporary Ballet (MCB), the area’s only professional dance company.
Schultz will be one of eight local celebrity dancers, each of whom pairs with a professional dancer from the MCB and competes to raise the most pledge money. Scheduled for May 17, DWMS is a popular area social event, expected to draw about 1,000 attendees to Columbia’s Holiday Inn Expo Center to support MCB.
“I don’t really have a dancing background, although my wife and I like to go country swing dancing and two-stepping,” Schultz says. “My grandma and grandpa taught me how to polka when I was little. But, my wife still has to remind me when we’re swing dancing, ‘Don’t watch our feet, watch our arms!’ So, this is all something new, having to put the arms together with the footwork.”
Schultz and his professional dance partner, Nicole Bell, will perform two dances, a box-step waltz and a jive. The waltz is a familiar, gliding, closed position dance in three-quarter time. The jive, as popularized by bandleader Cab Calloway in the ’30s, is a swing dance performed at an even faster tempo.
“I’m learning a lot,” Schultz says. “I’ve done the box-step waltz before, so I kind of knew the basic footwork, but other than that, everything Nikki has put in there is completely new to me. ‘Humble and Kind’ by Tim McGraw is the music for our waltz.
“For the jive, our music is ‘Ain’t Goin’ Down ‘til the Sun Comes Up’ by Garth Brooks,” Schultz says. “That song is very, very fast. When we first started working on it, I had my hands on my knees, completely sucking wind. I was sure Nikki and my wife had a conspiracy to kill me for the insurance money.”
Both the music and costumes reflect Schultz’s Nebraska roots.
“For the waltz, Nikki will wear a white dress and I’ll wear black cowboy boots, black dress pants, a black western shirt, sport coat and my good black hat,” Schultz says. “For the jive, she’ll wear a flannel shirt, Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots. I’ll wear cowboy boots, torn jeans, a pearl-button western shirt with the sleeves torn off, and a beat-up straw hat. Nobody will think I’m in costume.”
Bell recruited Schultz to participate in the event.
“Nikki teaches at my daughter’s dance school,” Schultz says. “Every year, the school has a recital that includes a dad dance and a daddy-daughter dance. She picked me as someone who might be able to do this and not get too embarrassed. That’s how I got roped into it.
“I’m supportive of my daughter’s desire to take dance, and I really want to support Missouri Contemporary Ballet,” Schultz says. “The performances they put on and the dance school they have are wonderful, but being a foster adoptive parent, I’m really proud of some of the programs they have for underprivileged children, and the dance-ability program for students with special needs allows them to get involved in dance as well. I was really impressed with that and I wanted to be able to support them.”
Schultz will be involved two upcoming events to support the benefit:
- On May 4 during a dancing fundraiser at the Backdoor Lounge in Midway, attendees can donate to dance with Schultz or Bell.
- On May 5 there will be a bingo night at The Dance Academy. The $10 admission charge includes bingo, food and family fun.
Schultz isn’t the CVM’s only high stepper. Craig Franklin, professor of veterinary pathobiology, is on the MCB’s Board of Directors and participated in DWMS two years ago.
“My experience consisted of two or three months of anxiety over my left foot,” Franklin says. “I met so many incredible people from the arts community, and the Columbia community in general. On dance night, I actually pulled it off and could not wipe the smile off my face. It was so much fun, I actually had several months of rehearsal withdrawal. Loren knows his way around the dance floor and seems much calmer than I was. He is in for a great time. I hope we can help him raise a ton of money.
“I love the arts, and I’ve gotten to know so many other neat people who also love the arts since joining the MCB board,” Franklin continues. “Columbia is an amazing place where we have science, academia, medicine, business, and a strong arts community. For a college town in the middle of the country, we’re super lucky to have all of this.”