Dance Marathon is halfway there

Morale+Captains+and+UIDM+participants+celebrate+the+halfway+point+with+Bon+Jovi%27s+%22Livin%27+on+a+Prayer%22+and+during+the+halfway+point+in+UI+Dance+Marathon+24+at+the+IMU+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+3%2C+2018.+%28Ben+Allan+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Dance Marathon is halfway there

Morale Captains and UIDM participants celebrate the halfway point with Bon Jovi's

Morale Captains and UIDM participants celebrate the halfway point with Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and during the halfway point in UI Dance Marathon 24 at the IMU on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben A

Morale Captains and UIDM participants celebrate the halfway point with Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and during the halfway point in UI Dance Marathon 24 at the IMU on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben A

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben A

Morale Captains and UIDM participants celebrate the halfway point with Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and during the halfway point in UI Dance Marathon 24 at the IMU on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

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Dancers gather in the IMU Main Lounge to celebrate 12 hours of progressing through Dance Marathon.

Nine dances later, Morale Captain Allyson Bingham said she is ready to kick off the next 12 hours with the annual “Living on a Prayer” pump up.

“We all gather in the ballroom, and the DJ tells us what’s going on, and we sing ‘Living on a Prayer’ — well, we don’t really sing it, we shout it,” Bingham said. “I’m already getting goose bumps trying to amp myself up for it.”

She said her favorite part of the 12 hours so far was the opening ceremony, in which the kids paraded across the stage, to cheers from the crowd, and names were read of 220 dancers who are “dancing in our hearts.”

“When you’re starting to lose your motivation, you look at that back wall with the [Dancing in our Hearts] quilt, and you just reiterate you’re doing this for them,” Bingham said.

This is her fourth year, Bingham said, and she keeps coming back to raise money for families and to ease the pain of kids with pediatric cancer.

In the Hubbard Commons, a group of lime-clad participants rolled a golf ball under their sock-covered feet to relax and iron out tired muscles.

“It is just something different from a shoe,” said Taylor Arenson, a senior who’s dancing for the first time this weekend.

She said a few highlights for her have been doing a silent disco and watching people shave their heads. All the spirit and energy, she said, is what has made her first Dance Marathon experience one to remember.

“I thought everyone would be zombies, but everyone is pretty energetic,” Arenson said.

Sophomore first-time dancer Jack McGovern said one highlight of the schedule for him was a marimba player at about 1 a.m. called the looper.

One story McGovern said really motivated him to keep dancing was from the father of a child who underwent numerous surgeries and chemo therapies, yet still passed away. He then founded a nonprofit to give back to families and cancer research to affect families like his.

“They’re all so good, though,” McGovern said. “Especially when the kids get up to talk, they speak with such poise even though they’ve been through so much.”

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