Hour 1 of Dance Marathon commences


UI students cheer during the opening ceremony of the 22nd Dance Marathon in the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. There are over 220 families in attendance this year. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

For the next 24 hours, the IMU will act as the host to Dance Marathon 23’s Big Event. The Main Lounge has been transformed into a dance floor on which dancers and families come together to battle pediatric cancer and celebrate the victories and lives of those who know the battle all too well.

The Big Event is a 24-hour marathon in which students and Dance Marathon families come together to enjoy live entertainment, DJs, numerous activities, and speeches given by families every hour to remind them about all they are doing for the kids.

During the Big Event, dancers may not sit, sleep, or drink caffeine. In order to participate in the Big Event, dancers were required to raise a minimum of $500.

The first of the 24-hours has begun, and the energy was high as dancers and families entered the Main Lounge at 7 p.m. to take on all that the next 24-hours has to offer.

“Seeing the impact that we’re going to be able to create as a school by doing something so simple is what is going to be amazing for me,” dancer Sydney Papadopoulos said. “Being able to see the expressions on the kids’ faces is something that will be really rewarding.”

This is Dance Marathon’s 23rd year as an organization. It started in 1994 and since then has raised more than $18.9 million.

“Dance Marathon is a huge morale booster for all the kids who are sick, because it makes them feel like people have their back and that they aren’t going through this alone,” said Dance Marathon volunteer Lydia Hinman.

This year, Dance Marathon set a goal to raise $2,758,511.23 in hopes of topping last year’s end result of more than $2.4 million. The numbers drastically contrast with what was raised at the first Dance Marathon in 1994, $31,000.

Dance Marathon will continue to accept donations over the 24-hours up until the big revelation at the end.

“I’m excited to see all the dancers come together, who have been coming to events throughout the year,” Operations Committee member Lauren Vasilakos said. “It will be amazing for them to see all their hard work pay off and for them to see how much of an impact they can make on all the families.”

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