UIDM 25 is underway at the IMU

With over 2,800 dancers and 950 families, the University of Iowa Dance Marathon hopes to make an impact. The 25th anniversary event will include music, games, and dancing, all to benefit patients at the Stead Children’s Hospital.


Micheal Guin

Dancers wait before the start of Dace Marathon 25 on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

Kate Pixley, News Reporter

With over 2,800 dancers, 300 leaders, 950 families, and 600 volunteers, the 25th University of Iowa Dance Marathon has officially kicked off.

Charlie Ellis, the executive director of Dance Marathon, said that the Dance Marathon team worked to make sure that the Big Event appealed to all different kinds of people.

“Obviously, it’s our 25th anniversary, so this year we really worked to make sure that there’s something to do throughout the entirety of the event that appeals to all types of people,” Ellis said. “So, whether you are really loud and really want a fun game, or maybe just want a board game to keep to yourself, we really try to find something to make sure every single person is included, and I really hope everyone leaves here tomorrow night knowing that they have impacted a lot of kids and families.”

Ellis emphasized that, no matter the individual contributions of dancers, all Dance Marathon participants have made a difference.

“For this Dance Marathon, I’m super excited for everybody to come to the Big Event, and really look at things and know how they shaped their own impact on this year and how they shaped a lot of lives regardless of how large or small,” Ellis said.

Dancers work for a year to raise their $500 fundraising goal. This year, leadership members of UIDM have increased their goal to $1,000.

Dancers go for 24 hours without sitting or sleeping, all without ingesting caffeine.

Joshua Peterson, a first-time dancer, said that he was motivated to participate in Dance Marathon because he was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 11 years old.

“I was sent [to Stead], so [Dance Marathon] came around the floor when I was there, so that was my motivation,” Peterson said.

The goal of Dance Marathon is to provide a support system for patients and families at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. UIDM has raised $24 million for Stead in the past 24 years.

Jenna Larson, the public relations and marketing director for Dance Marathon, is participating in her last year of Dance Marathon.

“For 25 years, this organization has done all that they can to raise money for our kiddos and families. I think it’s such an honor to be a part of it for its 25th year,” Larson said. “There are a lot of people that are coming here for our 25th year, so we’re celebrating a lot with it being our silver year… all around the IMU, we have really fun things like Dance Dance Revolution and Silent Disco, so I’m just really excited to see everyone experience this 25th Big Event.”

Larson said that while she’s excited for the mainstage acts, including Ravidrums, she is most excited to see people experience Dance Marathon.

“It’s such a special way to celebrate and honor our kiddos and their families and give them the support that they deserve,” Larson said.

Lauren Kramer, a morale captain, said that she was excited to experience the graduation ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“All the kids who are five years cancer free who get to walk…and it’s such an emotional time, because it shows you that’s what we’re fighting for, so that every kid can have a graduation,” Kramer said.