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The teachers feeling the Kenergy. Photo courtesy of J. Mullen.

On March 1, 2024, three of Fallston High School’s adored teachers, Mr. Houck, Mr. Capozzoli and Mr. Chatterton, gave a groundbreaking performance to the song “I’m Just Ken” in the variety show teacher dance. This performance left me altered as a human being and almost brought me to tears, so imagine my shock when I awoke on March 11 to videos of Ryan Gosling’s measly attempt of an “I’m just Ken” performance at the Oscars flooding my TikTok page. As I scrolled, my anger and disappointment flooded through my veins at the audacity of Mr. Gosling to even attempt to outdo the teachers’ performance. So, I took it upon myself to use my professional experience as a teacher dance choreographer and extreme Barbie movie fan to thoroughly compare the performances based on three categories: Presentation, Emotion, and Choreography. 

Presentation is a combination of the performers’ outfit choice and the backgrounds and props used during the performance. Let’s begin with Mr. Gosling’s outfit. He wore a hot pink sparkly suit paired with matching gloves and black sunglasses and black leather shoes. I would say although this look was flashy, I don’t think it gave Ken. In the actual Barbie movie, Ken begins the song in his mojo dojo casa house outfit, including the fur coat and head band. This brings me to the teachers’ outfits. They all wore their own base outfit paired with matching hot pink sweatbands, and Mr. Capozzoli put on a fur coat midway through the performance. I would argue in this category that the teachers win due to their clothing choices’ authenticity. 

Next Category is Emotion. Did the performers really give the audience a true look inside the brain of Ken? For this category we will begin with the teachers. The teachers’ performance was full of emotion: between Mr. Chatterton’s passionate peace sign, Mr. Houck’s dramatic lip syncing the entire performance, and Mr. Capozzoli’s full-fledged fall to his knees on that rock hard stage, you could feel and understand Ken’s longing for Barbie’s validation that the song is trying to express.  In comparison to Mr. Gosling’s performance, which was obviously a joke to him, the teachers took the cake. As Gosling sang this deep verse with a smile on his face, there was no longing, no tears in the eyes as the verse reflects on the lack of meaning in Ken’s life. Instead, those verses were paired with giggles and smirks.  

The last category is Choreography. Mr. Gosling’s performance, in my professional opinion, was far too simple on his end. He barely did any sort of movement besides holding a glass in his hand, which is not very impressive. Secondly, the background dancers’ choreography was nothing more than hip thrusts, fake boxing, and flexing. For professional dancers, this was not what I was expecting. Meanwhile, the teachers had complexity. Between the perfectly synchronized movements and Mr.Houck’s beautiful and shockingly high leg kick, it was nothing less than amazing. 

In conclusion, I would say the teachers could better embody Ken in their presentation, emotion and choreography in 1 minute and 10 seconds than Ryan Gosling could in 3 minutes and 28 seconds. 

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About the Contributor
Chloe McCarthy, Staff Reporter
Chloe is a senior staff reporter, and it is her second year on The Print. She’s on the varsity field hockey team and enjoys volunteering with the local rec field hockey team as well. In her free time, she loves spending time with her friends and her cats. 
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