AUBURN UNIVERSITY – A College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member at Auburn University is kicking up his heels with the granddaughter of a college icon, all to raise awareness of and support for the Lee County community.
Charles Hendrix, professor of pathobiology, and Kathryn Hoerlein, a senior in industrial and systems engineering, will take the stage at the fourth annual Dancing Stars of East Alabama on Thursday, March 20, at 8 p.m. in The Hotel at Auburn University’s ballroom.
Dancing Stars of East Alabama pairs local stars with local dance pros to raise money for the Community Foundation of East Alabama. “We’re the only pair representing Auburn University,” Hendrix said. “We’re team Vet Med.”
Hendrix said he thinks a mutual connection to Auburn was probably the reason he was partnered with Hoerlein, although the duo share a unique connection. Since 1981, Hendrix has been a faculty member of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and until recently, the college’s small animal clinic was located in Hoerlein Hall, named for the dancer’s grandfather, Benjamin Hoerlein.
Both Hendrix and Hoerlein said this connection was a coincidence. “The ladies who run Dancing Stars of East Alabama did not know that Benjamin Hoerlein was her grandfather,” Hendrix said.
Hoerlein has been dancing for seven years and instructing dance for five years and is the duo’s pro. Hendrix is the pair’s star, and admits he has an extremely limited background in dance. “I took some ballroom dancing in 1960, but nothing as complicated as what Kathryn has come up with,” he said.
As the group’s designated pro, Hoerlein coordinated the dance routine the pair will be performing. “We’re definitely doing some Lindy Hop and a good bit of Charleston,” Hoerlein said. “Dr. Hendrix is actually picking it up very quickly.”
The theme of this year’s Dancing Stars of East Alabama event is a Night at the Movies. The duo will be performing their dance routine to “Singing in the Rain”and “Good Morning.“
“It was my job to order the clear umbrellas,” Hendrix said.
“Everybody knows that Ginger Rogers did all the dances that Fred Astaire danced, but she danced them backwards and in high heels,” Hendrix said. “I can dance all of the dances that Katherine Hoerlein dances, but I can dance them with the results of four rotator cuff surgeries and with an artificial left hip.”
Hoerlein participated in the first Dancing Stars of East Alabama after the event’s organizers reached out to the swing dance club of which Hoerlein is president. “At the time I was a freshman at Auburn, and I didn’t have a lot to do,” Hoerlein said. While her schedule is busier now, she decided to be involved again to raise money for children’s advocacy. “The money raised will help children,” Hoerlein said. “That’s a cause that is really important to me.”
The money is raised through ticket purchases and by voting for dance partners online at DSOEA.com.
(Written by Ben Hohenstatt)