As the clock strikes 7, Dance Marathon begins

Dancers and families share mounting excitement with UI Dance Marathon’s Big Event set to start at 7 p.m.

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As the clock strikes 7, Dance Marathon begins

Dancers prepare the kick off of dance marathon in the IMU on Friday, Jan. 2, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Dancers prepare the kick off of dance marathon in the IMU on Friday, Jan. 2, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Dancers prepare the kick off of dance marathon in the IMU on Friday, Jan. 2, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Dancers prepare the kick off of dance marathon in the IMU on Friday, Jan. 2, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

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Anticipation mounted as dancers and families milled around the IMU first floor moments before the Dance Marathon Big Event, scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Three first-time freshman dancers sat cross-legged on the floor of the Hubbard Commons before they needed to stand all night long.

None of the first-time dancers said they had ever pulled an all-nighter before, but for the next 24 hours, the lime-clad women will be on their feet and dancing until 7 p.m. Feb. 3.

But, they said, it will all be worth it. Freshman Kayla Heitz said she raised $910 for the cause. Each dancer needs to raise at least $500 to participate in the Big Event.

“I mean, 24 hours is a long time, so we’ll be tired, but we’re doing it for a cause bigger than ourselves,” freshman Kelsey Young said. “I think it will be really touching, and it will be an experience for all of us.”

The Olson family has participated in Dance Marathon since 2011, after their son Will was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver cancer the previous year. They said they love seeing students involved in a good cause.

Will’s bedtime is usually 9 p.m., but tonight, he said, he may get to stay up a little later. His favorite part is the bouncy house.

“I’m going to stay here all night,” he said.

“I’d let you, but I don’t think you’d make it,” Will’s mother, Jenny Olson, said. “Tonight, it’s going to be late because we have to speak to a group — probably about midnight.”

Olson said that each year, the event is always overwhelming but in a good way.

“Each year, it keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it almost gives you goose bumps, because everybody’s coming together for such a good cause,” she said.

As the clock ticked down toward 7 p.m., a sea of lime-green dancers adjusted their matching fanny packs, refilled their water bottles, and talked about the upcoming night.

“I think we’re just ready to get going,” freshman Madison Shulte said.

 

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