By Michael Miller
12:50 PM PST, December 14, 2013
Brandon Fischer may not be the king of the world, but considering his dancing experience, he was happy to settle last year for king of Corona del Mar High School's male faculty.
The math teacher was crowned co-champion of the school's first Dancing with the Teachers contest, in which faculty members paired with students to hoof it onstage. Fischer's group got the assignment of lyrical dance, and someone — he's not quite sure whom — decided on the "Titanic" anthem "My Heart Will Go On" for the music.
That put Fischer, whose prior resume amounted to dancing at weddings, in a position that many high school teachers would envy: looking like Leonardo DiCaprio in front of the student body.
"It was pretty awesome," said Fischer, who will return to defend his title in the second annual Dancing with the Teachers event Tuesday. "The girls did a great job. We had a little 'Titanic' I'm-the-king-of-the-world ending where they held my arms and I leaned forward."
What will Fischer have to do to retain his title this year? Well, he'll have to nail his routine, which he declined to describe beyond calling it "more hip-hop than lyrical." But more importantly, he'll have to sway the opinions of a panel of faculty judges as well as audience members, who can buy votes for their favorite acts for $1 each.
In the end, the true winner will be Corona del Mar High's Orchesis Dance Company, which will reap most of the proceeds. The remainder will go to community outreach regarding the school's arts programs.
Cami Marseilles, the program's director, got the idea from a similar event at Newport Harbor High School, and the faculty at her campus — who, by and large, lag far behind the students in dancing experience — proved game.
"It's really nice to see community members of all ages coming out," Marseilles said. "We had 2,000 people come last year, and it just really united the school before Christmas, and I think that's awesome."
Last year, the event selected men's and women's champions, with history teacher Laura Mayberry winning the women's category. This time, Marseilles said, there will be a single champion, plus a pair of smaller awards.
Regardless of how many male teachers join in, the stage will be decidedly female-dominated: All the students in Orchesis, which requires a decade of training and an audition, are girls, although Marseilles said the group is open to any boys who meet the requirements.
With the students' extensive background, the teachers wind up learning a few things from their younger counterparts, according to Mayberry.
"Some of us, we're not so bad," she said. "The life of a dancer isn't for us, but we make it work."
If You Go
What: Dancing with the Teachers
Where: Corona del Mar High School Big Gym, 2101 Eastbluff Drive, Newport Beach
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Cost: $7 on campus at break and lunch; $10 at the door; $1 to cast a vote
Information: (949) 515-6000 or cdm.nmusd.us