Dance Marathon keeps spirit alive


The Daily Iowan

The total amount of money raised is reveled during the final hour of the Big Event in the Iowa Memorial Union on Feb. 7, 2015. The goal for Dance Marathon this year was two million dollars.This is Dance Marathon’s 21st Big Event at UI.

One group is aiming to use entertainment as a way to help children express themselves and get their minds off cancer.

The University of Iowa Dance Marathon’s Big Event is just around the corner, and this year’s entertainment ranges from a variety of singing and dance routines to a show by Reza, a magician and illusionist.

Sawyer Small, the Dance Marathon event director, said the group has lined up both small and large entertainers for the dancers in this year’s event.

He said the smaller shows include local groups such as UI Sparkles, the Senior Center Dance Team, and the Greek House Moms.

Bigger acts include the Street Corner Symphony, and Reza, hailed by critics as the nation’s top touring illusionist.

“Dancers always get pumped up by our morale dance,” Small said. “Especially if the dancers try to learn it during the Big Event, it’s always a fulfilling thing by the end of the event they can do it along with the captain.”

Besides performances, this year’s Dance Marathon will also feature five activity rooms, including a casino room, a tailgating room, and a team building room, which will feature many interactive games for the dancers.

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Dance Marathon Executive Director Dan Kolb said the best entertainment of the night will be the 24 family speakers.

“We have a bunch of different families share their stories and cancer battles” he said. “From families that are currently battling cancer to families that are five years cancer free and graduated.”

Music in the IMU Main Lounge will stay upbeat throughout the event as a way to motivate dancers to keep on dancing, Small said.

“If you keep on dancing, it’s hard to be tired,” he said. “After 12 hours or so, and you’re starting to be conscious of how tired you are, and you just stand you’ll feel tired, but if you keep moving or doing something, you won’t think about it.”

Nidhi Patel, public relations and marketing director of Dance Marathon, said it’s a big goal of the leadership team to ensure that dancers do not feel the fatigue.

The UI Dance Marathon was founded in 1994 by a group of motivated students in conjunction with the Children’s Miracle Network. Over the past 21 years, the group has managed to raise more than $16.5 million for pediatric cancer patients.

The group also has a mobile application dedicated to the Big Event, which includes the main-stage schedule and an announcement tab for participants.

Small said the group tries to have good entertainment every year but aims to be interactive this year so that dancers can feel a part of the entertainment as opposed to just watching it.

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