Fanny Packs and Fruit Snacks

For the 45th year, hundreds of Northwestern students stormed the big white tent behind the Norris University Center ready to kick off 30 hours of dancing for its primary beneficiary, Communities In Schools Chicago.

During Block 1 of Northwestern University Dance Marathon, participants danced to remixes of early 2000s pop songs, Disney hits and throwbacks. The theme for the block, “Fanny Packs and Fruit Snacks,” featured a speech from CIS Chicago Chief Resource Officer Marianne Woodward, who told stories about the students served by the organization, which provides resources for dropout prevention.

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Evolution of Dance

During Block 2 of Northwestern Dance Marathon, Communities In Schools of Chicago CEO Jane Mentzinger thanked dancers for their support, inspiring many of the dancers who decided to participate because they believed in the organization’s mission.

CIS of Chicago, NUDM’s primary beneficiary, is a dropout prevention organization that works with Chicago Public Schools to encourage students to graduate with a highschool diploma. The nonprofit supports students by providing them with access to educational opportunities and individual counseling.

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Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Block After Midnight)

As the clock ticked past 1 a.m. and the strains of ABBA filled the tent, dancers took stock of their situation after six hours and offered how they would survive the next 24.

“Vibes are high,” Weinberg first-year Ben Kaiser said, while Communication first-year Eden Strong was “still chugging (along).”

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WILDest Dreams

As Northwestern University Dance Marathon participants drag themselves around the perimeter of Norris University Center during the sunrise tradition sequence, some dancers may wonder how this is a NUDM tradition. But for Weinberg and Medill junior Davis Rich, it’s a much needed break from the tent.

“I do like when you go out and run in the morning,” Davis said. “It’s really cold, but it’s kind of nice to be outside, and when you come back in, they play “Here Comes the Sun,” and there’s balloons and stuff, cause that’s when you’re kind of getting into the hardest part of DM.”

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Pop it, Block it, Polka Dot it

After a morning jog around the tent, beleaguered dancers got to rest their legs, enjoying a quick breakfast, color wars, and student performances throughout Block 5 of Northwestern University Dance Marathon.

The theme, “Pop it, Block it, Polka Dot it,” featured student performances from NSTV, .WAV, Afrothunda and NU band Honey Butter. Dancers also competed for perks during color wars events that threw it back to grade school with “Telephone” and “Ships and Sailors.”

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Jingle Bells & Magic Spells

During Block 6, Pet Partners brought in five dogs for dancers to interact with if they earned the perk. Pet Partners’ mission is to “improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond,” according to their website. While dancers bonded with and provided many pets for the dogs, several commented on how seeing a dog brightened their spirits.

“I just love him so much,” Medill freshman Samara Lipman said. “I’ve been dancing for the past — I can’t even tell how many hours, and coming to see Chase just invigorates me and makes me feel at home.”

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Purple Reign

A wave of purple attire entered the tent during the Block 7 of Dance Marathon’s “Purple Reign.” Student groups such as Fusion Dance Company and X-Factors A Cappella performed while students ate lunch during a much-needed sitting break.

X-Factors opened the block by performing songs by Britney Spears and Justin Bieber, which was followed by Fusion’s preview of their spring showcase.

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Athletes and Mathletes

While dancers fill the tent for one of the final blocks of the 2019 Northwestern University Dance Marathon, overhead lights changed colors in sync to the music. The big screens seamlessly cut to a celebrity video from Luca Padovan, who plays Paco on the cult-favorite Netflix show, “You.”

Behind the scenes, more than 60 members making up the Productions Committee coordinate lights, sound, sets and video to put together all the visual aspects during the 30 hours. This includes everything from the six-second celebrity video clips to the balloon drops to spearheading the “Sandstorm” tradition — where NUDM participants dance in a moshpit — which happened during Block 8.

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After filling up on spaghetti and salad for dinner, dancers headed back to the tent to kick off Block-182, the ninth block of this year’s Northwestern University Dance Marathon.

Hours 25 through 27 featured songs like Foundation of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” as well as performances from student groups like THUNK A Cappella and Boomshaka. Northwestern University Marching Band’s Drumline performed toward the end of dinner, with fellow band members chanting their routine. All of the group fundraising totals, aside from the top three, were also announced.

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School of Block

Northwestern University Dance Marathon 2019 raised $1,144,515, reaching a total of more than $1 million for the ninth consecutive year.

The finance committee announced early Sunday morning that Children In Schools Chicago, the event’s primary beneficiary, will receive a check of $911,681. The money will go toward helping Chicago Public Schools with dropout prevention.

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This year, DM participants are dancing for 30 hours to raise money for Communities In Schools Chicago, a nonprofit that helps Chicago Public Schools with dropout prevention. Funds will also go to the Evanston Community Foundation, making this the 22nd year ECF has been the secondary beneficiary.

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