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Dance Marathon prepares for charity event

By Stephanie Shenouda, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 4, 2013

The Indoor Track Building will take a temporary break from sports starting Saturday, as more than 1,000 participants put on their dancing shoes for the annual Dance Marathon event to raise funds and awareness for C.S Mott Children’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

The event requires everyone to be dancing, moving or standing for the full 30 hours — starting with a line dance that will be performed at Dance Marathon events across the country.

Though there isn’t a specific fundraising goal in mind, last year’s marathon raised $510,000. Organizers hope to exceed that this weekend.

LSA junior Hannah Cottrell, a Dance Marathon spokesperson, said the program is a "year-round activity,” because planning for the next year’s event begins before the dancers have even had time to rest their feet. In addition to logistical decisions, the 100-dancer planning committee reaches out to performance groups and athletes to make the marathon more representative of the many individuals and groups on campus.

“Anyone who’s ever done Dance Marathon will tell you it’s definitely grueling,” Cottrell said. “But we do things along the way to make it fun, like massages, appearances from different sports teams and time to recharge and reconnect as a group.”

One of Cottrell’s favorite Dance Marathon traditions is called “runabout” which entails a quick run around the building, followed by a five second break, mediated by different athletic teams. The group also provides a stretching machine and other resources to ensure participants stay on their feet for the entirety of the marathon.

Cottrell added that the event is solely about philanthropy, with the money raised contributing to funding pediatric therapy — specifically alternative options that are not likely covered by insurance.

“It’s therapy that will help kids with disabilities ride in airplanes or play soccer or climb trees — things that all kids want to do,” Cottrell said.

This year, dancers can expect things to run a little differently with “pod culture” helping to foster a tighter-knit sense of community within eight teams, each with about 150 people.

“Pod culture gives us the opportunity for a lot more involvement and activities,” Cottrell said. “It also gives the marathon a smaller feel because it can be kind of overwhelming having over 1,000 people dancing at one time.”

Each pod has been has been participating in their own fundraising and team-building activities throughout the year.

Cottrell said the response to the new approach has been favorable, and she expects it to help people reconnect and stay animated throughout the event.

“We have study stations and video game stations throughout the space so people can continue to move but stay energized the whole time.”

Correction appended: A previous version of this article misstated the amount of money DMUM raised last year.