Corona del Mar High School teacher Tammy Owney, center, practices with teammates Bailey Ashton, 18, left, and Taylor Chen, 14, right, before the "Dancing with the Teachers" competition Thursday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / December 13, 2012)

Students at Corona del Mar High School got the chance to grade their teachers Thursday.

Twelve educators teamed up with members of the Orchesis dance team for the first night of "Dancing with the Teachers" to raise funding for the program.

First on stage was boa-clad American Sign Language teacher Tammy Owney for a Latin-inspired dance.

Running through dress rehearsals, Owney said she was nervous.

"The kids see us in a different element," she said. "Now we might mess up."

But her trepidation was unfounded, earning rounds of applause from the gym and an 8, 9 and 8 from the three judges.

"My glasses were fogging up a little bit. You killed it, Ms. Owney," senior Casey Mix said from the judging table.

Each teacher danced with two Orchesis squad members to a routine the team choreographed.

"I think what's been really fun to watch is the girls are teaching their teachers," said Orchesis co-advisor Lauren Gibellino. "They've been really good at taking their teachers' temperature and seeing what they're comfortable with and going right up to that comfortability mark."

Whether they put in hours or months of practice, Owney said the students stayed relentlessly positive throughout the training process.

Attendees bought votes at $1 a piece to support Orchesis and their favorite teachers — picking the winning male and female teachers.

History teacher Laura Mayberry, with students Grace Axelson and Kristen Risser, won the women's category with their "Blast from the Past" disco routine.

But algebra teacher Brandon Fischer, with students Hannah Hall and Kendall Kurzweil, stole the show and thunderous applause after a ballet-inspired routine set to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."

They nabbed enough votes to claim the top male teacher spot combined with the second-highest judges' score of 29.

"Once I heard Celine come on, I knew you were right on," Mix said after the performance.

jeremiah.dobruck2@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck