C of I alumnus and psychology professor Dr. Isaac Hunter ’04 danced all over the competition during the recent Dancing with the Caldwell Stars contest, put on March 7 by Caldwell Fine Arts. With a dynamic disco routine, Hunter left the audience begging for more with moves Chazz Michael Michaels would be jealous of. We sat down with the mirror ball trophy winner to get an inside look at greatness. (Note: this interview was executed with sarcasm and humor in mind).
College of Idaho: Sometimes people channel another persona on stage. What would you call your onstage persona?
Isaac Hunter: My partner Dani and I kept saying “Disco Yote.” I let her drop in on a few of my psychology classes and her favorite color is purple, so it just felt right.
C of I: What was the moment in the contest that sealed the victory?
Hunter: I think the moonwalk pushed it over. People were not expecting that. As I kid, I watched this Michael Jackson special on Oprah, and then practiced a bunch in the kitchen on the linoleum floor.
C of I: Are there any faculty that can challenge your moves?
Hunter: Not that I’ve seen. I publicly issue a dance-off challenge to anyone that wants to throw down.
C of I: How did having (not really) renowned Russian ballet performer Dr. Kerry Hunter as your father help you in this competition?
Hunter: That was huge. [Russians] are good at ice skating, good at dancing, good at gymnastics—that kind of stuff. I could kind of hear his voice keeping me in line as I did my moves on the floor.
C of I: How did you prepare for this contest? Did you use any psychology tricks on your opponents?
Hunter: We all practiced at the same time, so I couldn’t let my competition see all the cards I had up my sleeve. I saved the moonwalk for final performance.
C of I: Was some trash-talk going on behind the scenes?
Hunter: Yeah, some people were saying that C of I is not really the center of Caldwell, and I was like ‘C of I put this place on the map.’ Caldwell was almost the capital of Idaho because this is the center of fine arts and academia. It only makes sense that the center has the top star. Also, some people on stage were trying to say ‘Go Yotes,’ and stuff like that, trying to pull from my audience. Shameful.
C of I: I heard you would moonwalk in class, leading up to the event, while lecturing?
Hunter: Yeah, I knew I needed the ‘Yote Vote’ to secure the victory, so I gave them a little taste to whet their appetite.
C of I: What was it like to dance all over the competition?
Hunter: It was probably a little unfair with my athletic background with biking and I’m getting into tennis. I have danced solo for a bit. I lived in Gangnam, South Korea, and saw their big clubs, so the local Idaho competition had no idea. But, I’ve never done partner dancing, you know, besides awkward prom dancing.
C of I: Where are you keeping the trophy these days?
Hunter: I just brought it into my office today. Is it the most valuable thing in here? Let’s just say I’m gonna lock my door when I go to the bathroom.
C of I: Did the professional dancer just try to stay out of your way and let you take over?
Hunter: Yeah, little secret, she doesn’t know how to moonwalk, and she was asking me. And I thought, ‘that makes sense. I’m still the professor here.’ Couples stuff, I couldn’t really shine, but when she let go of me, that’s when I could do my thing and turn it on.
C of I: You’re a peacock, gotta fly.
Hunter: Yep, just spread my wings.
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.