'Dancing with the Patriots' to premiere Monday

Grab your remote and prime your dancing shoes. The reality dancing program 'Dancing with the Patriots' begins its four-episode run Monday on the Mason Cable Network. 

The series began as an idea pitch for Professor David Miller's COMM 358 - Producing and Directing class. The episodes follow Ashlee Duncan and Calvin Smith as they "learn the right steps" from Mason's student dance clubs.

"Viewers could say that this came about so that I could go dancing for a school project, but it became so much more than that," said Duncan, who served as executive producer and director for the project. "By the end, our entire crew had stepped on the dance floor at some point and we continue to be active parts of the dance community at Mason."

Production began in October. The crew about 4 nights per week, putting in roughly 250 hours over the course of several months.

Philip Yang served as Director of Photography, Smith as Associate Producer, and Jessica Williams  as Assistant Director. Duncan says Miller and the Student Video Center were "on speed dial throughout production," and the crew also collaborated with FAVS 100 students and Professor Ben Steger's class on sound and lighting. Other "wonderful volunteers" assisted with audio, camerawork, and logging footage.

What to expect

Monday's episode is a short documentary featuring the Ballroom Dance Club. The club members learn everything from the standard ballroom dances like waltz, foxtrot, and tango to hustle, cha cha, bachata and various line dances. They are taught in a casual workshop format by Tommie Hopkins, and the dancers are encouraged to learn from each other as well.

Club members share their experiences in the club and why they love to dance.

"We felt this would be the perfect opener for the season, as it gives viewers a taste of some of the other dance styles we'll cover this spring," said Duncan. 

The show airs Monday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. If you miss it, you can check view the episode here on Connect2Mason late next week.


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