Dance Marathon reaches halfway point

Dance Marathon has arrived at its halfway point, and members are keeping their energy up as each hour passes.


Nick Rohlman

Dancers sing along to “Otherside” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers during a performance by Ravidrums during Dance Marathon 25 at the Iowa Memorial Union on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.

Annie Fitzpatrick and Andy Mitchell, News Reporters

As the University of Iowa’s Dance Marathon Big Event approaches its halfway point, participants keep dancing to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” in honor of children whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Dance Marathon Executive Chair Lexi Breitbart, who has been a part of Dance Marathon for four years in many different roles, oversees top directors and their committees along with other roles for the Big Event, she said.

Breitbart said that at the halfway point of the Big Event, the 25th anniversary of Dance Marathon has gone great and the IMU Main Lounge has been “packed.” She said that with the help of many events, dancers and volunteers are maintaining their energy.

“It’s really exciting to see every year how it progresses with the new things … we have so many activity rooms going on, and we’ve tried to keep them open as long as we possibly can,” she said.

UI graduate Jack Moss and UI senior Caitlin Nelson, members of the Dance Marathon business cabinet involving sponsorship, development, and outreach, said that as the halfway point approaches, they still feel energized and excited.

“The activities are designed to get you through, because the night is definitely the hardest part of the whole event,” Moss said.

Nelson said once the Big Event reaches the halfway mark, it gets easier to make it through, so the night activities are important for staying awake. The silent disco was her favorite way to energize herself when she was tired, she said.

RELATED: Iowa football’s Paulson brothers lose their locks at Dance Marathon

As a student in a leadership position, UI fourth-year student Olivia Gunn said her experience differs from that of a dancer. She has been going since noon, and while tired, she still feels the excitement of the night.

“It’s really motivating, because right now we have the most things going on throughout the whole event, so energy is actually pretty high, morale is pretty high,” Gunn said.

UI graduate student Payton Janney, a child-life specialist in training, said the mission of Dance Marathon directly correlates to her work. The importance of taking sick children away from a hospital setting and letting them enjoy life is the reason she does her work, she said.

She said any event with the children keeps her going when she gets tired.

“I really love anything that involves the kiddos — to see them and to see their stories and to see how Dance Marathon is not only for college students,” she said. “It’s a chance for them to get away for a little bit to have fun.”

Breitbart said that when participants tire, it’s important to remember the families and their stories. 

“I always go and listen to family speakers, because it just grounds you back into why you’re here,” she said.

Before her position as executive director, Breitbart was part of Dance Marathon as a dancer, committee chair, and chair. She said each year, she became more inspired to get involved with the organization and event.

“This is my fourth year in the organization, and every year I get to know more families, and I get to spend more time with them,” Breitbart said. “So it’s really special this year to recognize so many of the families as they walk in.”