Traveling from Florida for Dance Marathon: a laser-tag experience

Dance Marathon participants could play laser tag for a few hours on the IMU ground floor as a break from upstairs dancing.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by James

Participants play laser tag during Dance Marathon in the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (James Year/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Watson, [email protected]

The usual lunch and pool tables of the Hawkeye Room on the IMU ground floor retired for the weekend to be replaced with a laser-tag obstacle course for Dance Marathon participants.

Once competitors picked out their weapons of choice and assumed their positions, the lights went out, leaving the room pitch black except for black lights illuminating white and neon colors.

Green-shirted dancers and blue-shirted kids ducked behind 5-foot black and yellow football-shaped inflatables and peeked around brick columns in the Hawkeye Room, trying to dodge “bullets” from the opposing team’s laser guns.

After one five-minute game ended, a group of dancers and a few kids filed out of the room, joking about who got the most “kills.”

One kid in the group, Jordyn Gourley, 10, came up all the way from Florida to be in the UI Dance Marathon. Her family moved south in July, but having participated in Dance Marathon for the last few years, Jordyn said she didn’t want to miss the Big Event this year.

“I wanted to see all my friends again,” she said.

She couldn’t remember who won or how many “kills” she got (although group members insisted she must have had the highest on the team), but she said she loved the experience and gave the *The Daily Iowan* a play-by-play of the action.

“I was sitting in the corner, by the wall behind the Herky [statue], because there are no LED lights, so they couldn’t see me,” Jordyn said.

She stood on a raised platform and peeking from behind the Herky statue, took out unsuspecting opponents from behind with quick precision.

A game of laser tag lasts about five minutes, with teams of around 10 people — dancers and kids alike — weaving in and out of obstacles to try to take down the other team. Music played in the background, amid beeps of laser-tag participants recharging after being “killed”.

“People like it; we’ve got a long line outside,” Dance Marathon Relations Chair Dalton Bierer said, referring to a queue of participants snaking around from the IMU north entrance to the Hawkshop at the time of the interview. “I think people like a distraction.”

Laser tag débuted last year, according to Dance Marathon volunteers. This year, laser tag started at 9:30 p.m. and ended at 12:30 a.m.

One of Jordyn’s group members, UI sophomore Ryan Downing, said the best part was spending time with the kids.

“We’ve been hanging out with these guys for probably about an hour now,” he said. “It’s just an awesome thing, for them to be able to come out here and have a good time with us.”


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