UI Dance Marathon DJ Inzane to retire after this year’s Big Event

After 25 years working with the organization, DJ Inzane is ready to step back and let the next generation of DJs fall in love with Dance Marathon just like he did.


Jerod Ringwald

DJ Inzane speaks over the microphone during the University of Iowa’s 29th Dance Marathon at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. DJ Inzane performed at his last dance marathon event. The event raised about $1.17 million in 24 hours.

Archie Wagner, News Reporter

After transferring to the University of Iowa in 1997, John Munford said he saw a fundraising activity going on outside the Iowa Memorial Union. He asked a familiar face what was going on. A friend of a friend told him it was Dance Marathon. 

This interaction marked the first time Munford heard of the event, but it would not be the last. 

Don Rossum — known as Big D as a DJ — was part of a fraternity that participated in the first Dance Marathon at the UI and asked Munford if he wanted to be a part of the organization. 

Munford said yes. 

“I always loved music,” Munford said. “I grew up in the hip-hop generation, so you either deejay or rapped or danced or something of that nature, and I just always kind of had this love for music and had friends that were into deejaying and kind of fell into it.”

After 25 years with the organization, Munford — known as DJ Inzane — retired from his position as one of the DJs for UI’s Dance Marathon 29 “Big Event” Friday and Saturday. 

The Dance Marathon “Big Event” is a 24-hour celebration where participants are encouraged to stay awake without drinking caffine or sitting down to raise money for the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital’s pediatric cancer patients and families. 

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“I’m a little quiet at first when people kind of are around me, and they see me, but then as I start to perform, I kind of lose it,” Munford said. “One second you play Lil Jon and then you mix it in with like John Denver, you know? So, it’s just, just crazy.” 

But for Munford, coming back to Dance Marathon isn’t about being a DJ. It’s about being part of an organization that helps people. 

“I fell in love with it,” Munford said. “It can be an addictive thing because it’s such a moving experience that for me once I got involved, and you see the direct impact that is having on these children.” 

Munford said he got to know many families that he sees at the “Big Event” each year, and they’ll come up to him and give the biggest hug. 

“They tell you the stories of how they live in a small town in northeast Iowa, and something happened to their child in the middle of night, and everybody jumps in the car in their pajamas, and the ambulance comes to take their child, and they’re rushing to Iowa City,” he said. “They get to Iowa City, realize they don’t have their wallet to get gas, to pay for a hotel, or other stuff. The money that’s raised by Dance Marathon pays for that in those situations.” 

These stories, he said, are a massive part of why he kept coming back every year. 

“I’ve been coming back every year to do this. And like I said, 25 years or so with it, and it’s just time for somebody to fall in love with Dance Marathon the way that I did,” Munford said. 

Raginya Handoo, Executive Director of Dance Marathon 29, said DJ Inzane will be missed and has been a vital piece of Dance Marathon for the last 25 years. 

“People know him. People remember him, his energy, and just his pure passion for Dance Marathon, is honestly unlike anybody I’ve ever met before,” Handoo said. “While it’s really bittersweet to hear that he’s leaving, I’m just so excited that he can finally kind of take a break.” 

Munford said stepping back from the “Big Event” is extremely hard, but he believes it’s the right time to do it. 

“I wanted to make sure that if I left, or when I left, the next generation of DJs would be doing it for the right reasons,” Munford said. “There’s been a lot of DJs over the years that come up and want to DJ, and their only intent is to perform in front of 1,500 to 2,000 dancers. It’s not about that.”