Fencing is part of DWOS number|Hampton, Rucquoi kicking it up a notch

Published 12:33 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

For at least one of the couples in this year’s Dancing With OUR Stars, there will be a bit more than dancing incorporated into the performance.
Dancer Kiki Hampton and Dr. Marc Rucquoi have added fencing to their number, which will among the 19 performances on the program for the Aug. 29 event benefiting Eagle’s Wings.
Hampton and Rucquoi have worked for weeks perfecting the Pasa Doble, a dance that originated in France with Latin influences.
“I think we are attempting something very, very technical and very fast,” Rucquoi said during a recent break in rehearsals. “It’s going to be a little bit different from what people expect.”
The dance and the music is reminiscent of the excitement of a bull fight, according to Hampton.
“The woman is supposed to represent the bull and the fluidity of the cape,” she said. “The man is the matador.”
The dance is choreographed by Hampton, and it was Rucquoi’s idea to work fencing into the number; Rucquoi has a background in theater and stage fighting, which serves the pair well when planning the performance.
In keeping with the style of the music, Rucquoi and Hampton will be appropriately outfitted, thanks to costumes provided by Jeff Phipps and East Carolina University.
One challenge facing the dance team is the two-minute time limit on performances. That means what is usually a much longer number had to be reworked.
“Kiki has condensed a tremendous amount of difficult types of steps into this,” Rucquoi said. “This is by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do.”
Rucquoi said he has little or no dance experience, and as a seasoned dancer Hampton acknowledged she is a bit out of her element now.
“I’m so used to clowning around with something fun, but this is a change for me,” Hampton said. “This is a very, very difficult dance. And Marc is dedicated, he’s worked so hard.”
Rucquoi admitted that he has a not-so-secret weapon in his choice of dance partner; Hampton was half of the winning team in the 2008 inaugural Dancing With OUR Stars gala.
Last year, Hampton was paired with Tom Anglim, an assistant district attorney, and they raised the most in ticket sales and donations, which determines the winner.
Rucquoi is hoping to hold his own against such an illustrious record.
“We want to give a really, really sound performance so people will walk away and tell their friends,” he said. “This really is about raising money for Eagle’s Wings, so that is the important part.”
Hampton expects to get quite a workout during this year’s DWOS grand finale. Not only is she Rucquoi’s partner, she is also a principal dancer in the number showcasing members of the Washington Police Department. She and Anglim have promised to give a command performance of last year’s award-winning dance.
But Hampton refused to say who is the better dancer, Rucquoi or Anglim.
“I plead the Fifth,” she said with a laugh.
However, since Rucquoi is her physician, Hampton does have higher expectations in one regard.
“If I get an injury, he’s taking care of me!” she said.
Tickets for the Aug. 29 evening grand finale have sold out, but seating for that afternoon’s dress rehearsal are currently being sold. Tickets are available from cast members and from Eagle’s Wings; for more information, call 252-975-1138 or visit www.eagles-wings.org.
Eagle’s Wings is a United Way agency that addresses immediate hunger needs of the impoverished and homeless in Beaufort County.