Checking in at (nearly) the halfway mark

Checking in with Dance Marathon dancers and how they power through the 24 hours.


Nick Rohlman

Daniel Picchiotti and Paige Allison pose for a portrait during Dance Marathon at the Iowa Memorial Union on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Almost halfway into the 24th Dance Marathon Big Event, dancers show little sign of slowing down. Despite the strenuous task of staying active for 24 hours, participants are staying motivated in their own ways.

Freshman Daniel Picchiotti, in the middle of his first Big Event, said that despite his body growing tired, seeing the kids is a motivator for him.

“Even though we’re not even halfway through, it’s been a life-changing experience — hearing the stories of the families, and seeing what they’re going through, and seeing the raw emotion that they put out on stage,” Picchiotti said.

Paige Allison said she hasn’t felt tired yet and is still powering through for the kids. She shares Picchiotti’s belief that Dance Marathon is a life-changing experience.

“It makes you appreciate more to have the life you have,” Allison said.

Nick Marino, a Dance Marathon veteran of three years, pushes through what he calls the hardest part of the 24 hours, the dead of the night between 2 and 5 a.m.

Marino has gone from Dancer to leadership on the Hospital committee to Morale Captain. He said his weirdness and personality makes him a good fit for the part, and his main goal is to keep his group of dancers inspired.

What keeps him motivated is the kids, especially the kids he met last year as a part of the Hospital Committee but have since passed and live on in memory. Seeing their names on the opening ceremony quilt hits home for him.

“It reminds me of why I do what I do,” Marino said. “Why I keep pushing and fighting and trying to push people to do the same.”


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