Former Trojan shakes it up
Folks around Mount Angel may catch a glimpse of someone familiar Saturday evening, if they are watching TV.
Alex Morrissey, a 2010 graduate of Kennedy High School, will be among the featured dancers on the network's "Flirty Dancing" show, which will air on FOX's "Flirty Dancing," which airs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. The network describes the show as an innovative new series that is part performance, part blind date, and all about romantic chemistry.
Hosted by actress, producer and dancer Jenna Dewan, the show features strangers who are taught half of a dance routine before they are assigned to meet for the first time on a blind date. The date takes place in a charming location, where they dance together without speaking.
Fox Broadcasting says:
"In this romantic approach to dating, these singles will push themselves out of their comfort zones in the hope of being swept off their feet, rather than swept to the left or right on a phone."
Morrissey describes it as a must see.
"There are three episodes currently out, and the show is so good," Morrissey said. "When people ask me about it, I tell them to go see any episode — I don't care if it's the one I'm in or not — and I promise you, you will be entertained. It's positive. ... I've seen people watching it and smiling from ear to ear."
Morrissey was active during his years at Kennedy. He participated in football, basketball and track and field, was involved in agricultural organization FFA — elected Oregon's FFA president in March 2010 — was the Associated Student Body president his senior year, Mount Angel's Junior First Citizen, and participated in Future Business Leaders of America and leadership programs.
His activities also included a fair slice of dancing, which in large part may have indirectly led him to the show.
"Alex has always been very outgoing and able to communicate with most anyone of any age," said his mother, Teresa Kinkaid. "He took hip-hop and jazz dance lessons at Silverton Ballet for about five years, and he has been an Oktoberfest dancer since he was about 10."
Kinkaid said her son loved going to Canyonview Camp outside of Silverton in the summers, which became a formative part of what developed as Morrissey's strong Christian faith.
Following his high school graduation, Morrissey studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, and at Azusa Pacific in Southern California.
"Alex has a real passion for people and life in general. He was greatly involved in Young Life while living in San Luis Obispo and is still involved at times," Kinkaid said. "When he was younger, Alex was very bright and capable, passionate about what he did, compassionate about others and a strong leader."
That may be what the show's casting crew sensed when they sent Morrissey an electronic query last August, feeling out his interest in being a part of the series.
"I was just randomly tagged in something on social media and got connected to someone on casting through that," Morrissey said.
"Immediately when I saw the ad, I liked it," he said. "I always get joking encouragement to apply for (reality TV). When this show popped up, it immediately sounded like it's a show for me. I saw the dancing and figured it had to be fun; lighthearted and positive — just right."
He applied, and the wheels turned quickly.
"I got a call the next morning, and they said they really liked my application. In fact, they said it made them emotional. I was going to interviews right away and then dance auditions. The whole thing happened pretty quickly," Morrissey said.
While the former Kennedy Trojans' ascent into the series was a whirlwind one, the show itself carries a curiously deep, poignant touch.
"'Flirty Dancing' is a truly unique format — it's unlike anything we've ever seen before. It's fun, fresh and romantic, and broadens the dating format far beyond its traditional boundaries," said Rob Wade, president of Alternative Entertainment and Specials, Fox Entertainment. "Jenna is our dream host. She knows all about how powerful connections and chemistry can be on the dance floor. So there really is no one better to help guide these singles in their search for love."
A series in the United Kingdom bears the same name. But producers say the U.S. version has a twist in that it features "singles who will perform a different choreographed dance with each of two potential love interests, before choosing the one with whom he/she has the strongest connection.
"While the singles may not all be professional dancers, the elevated choreography will tell a story reflective of their personal journeys to find love, while also providing clues to the other's personality."
The teaser asks: Will it be love at first dance?
Who knows? But Kinkaid believers her son was tailor fit for this
"He continues to be able to communicate well with others and has made so many friends in so many places because of his outgoing, caring and compassionate nature," she said. "Alex is someone people remember once they meet him because he has a way of connecting with people of all kinds."
Viewers may see just that on Saturday.
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