For the 44th year, more than 1,000 Dance Marathon participants ran down the steps of Norris University Center toward a large white tent to begin 30 hours of dancing.
During Block 1, participants danced to a mix of superhero-themed songs, Disney hits and pop music. The block, themed “Comic Books and Captain Hooks,” featured a speaker from Cradles to Crayons, this year’s primary beneficiary. The nonprofit provides clothing, school supplies and other essentials to children from low-income households.
The Dance Marathon tent lit up as dancers shimmied with their alien headbands bopping in the air.
With “Space Jam” as this block’s theme, Communication senior Dee Dee Morrow said she “naturally” had to go all out. In her galaxy leggings and sparkly top, Morrow said dressing up excites people even more.
Stretching into the early hours of Saturday morning, Britney Spears and will.i.am’s “Scream & Shout” blared into the Dance Marathon tent as dancers kicked off the third block of the 30-hour event.
Block 3, themed “It’s Britney, Block”, was the first lockdown block, meaning the tent was closed to outside visitors. At this point, some dancers were offered the chance to get foot massages.
For Block 4 dancers dressed in PJ’s – as a person should be during the early 4 a.m. hour. The theme: U up? Was appropriate as dancers began to “hit a wall.”
“There is a little bit of a dip in terms of mood. The first two blocks were energetic but people seem to be slowing,” McCormick freshman Chad Meyers told the Daily at the beginning of the block.
Screams echoed across campus as dancers, following a brisk morning jog around Norris, made their way into Block 5 of Dance Maraton.
Dancers filed into the ground floor of Norris for a “breakfast of champions,” before re-entering the tent for recorded words of encouragement from former Vice President Joe Biden, Stephen Colbert and Josh Peck and performances from Deeva and Significant Others. As they entered their 12th hour, dancers fought to keep their energy up.
With the sun up and the rest of Evanston awake, dancers toiled past the halfway point to the tunes of Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Bon Jovi.
Dance Marathon officials told dancers that $9,417 had been raised Saturday toward their goal of reaching $33,000 in 10 hours. DM finance co-chair Alex Keller, a Weinberg senior, told The Daily the money raised so far will fund 1,000 resource packages for Chicago students.Read more.
By Block 7, intrepid Dance Marathon participants had been dancing for 18 hours straight.
Dancer emotions were mixed as they filed back into the tent at 1 p.m. with their lunches. While some still had the same energy as when they entered the tent, others were collapsed on the ground trying to regain their strength.
Dancers “super-liked” Block 8 — a block sponsored by dating app Tinder and aptly themed “Shiver Me Tinder.”
“(The tent is) the best place to find love!” emcee Kelly Eichenholz joked to the crowd of dancers, dressed in red for the app’s signature color.
In the penultimate block, dancers screamed along to rock and roll songs, as they started to regain their energy for the push to the finish line.
Named for the Fall Out Boy song “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” THNKS FR TH MRTHN featured rock anthems like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and The Village People’s “YMCA.” Dance Marathon’s finance committee announced that dancers had raised $693,149 by the $400 deadline two weeks ago.
Dance Marathon raised $1,175,709.82, breaking over $1 million for the 8th year in a row.
NUDM’s Executive Board presented a check of $942,793.20 to Cradles to Crayons and $104,754.80 to the Evanston Community Foundation.
This year, DM participants are dancing for 30 hours to raise money for Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that provides clothing, school supplies and other essentials to children from low-income households. Funds will also go to the Evanston Community Foundation, making this the 21st year ECF has been the secondary beneficiary.
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