CORRECTION APPENDED: This article included a description of an event that did not take place. Although organizers discussed having someone jump out of a cake, no one did so.
The crowd of more than 1,000 participants and supporters was in an uproar as balloons fell from the ceiling and the final fundraising total, $351,060.07, was projected onto a large screen.
This year, students raised $24,000 more than last year for Mott’s Children’s Hospital and the Beaumont Hospital – adding to the $1.6 million already raised since the event’s inception on campus a decade ago.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Dance Marathon is actually a continuous dance. It’s not. Participants line up to learn short dance routines to different songs every hour in preparation for a final, 14-minute long dance. Aside from that, music is constantly playing but dancing is optional. Participants are required to stand – but not dance – for the whole 30 hours.
There are constant games, sports and arts and crafts to pass the time. Participants also have access to computers, study tables and snacks.
Even though Dance Marathon doesn’t require perpetual dancing, there is a ban on caffeine. Sodas, energy drinks and coffee are prohibited.
“We don’t want people crashing from it,” said LSA senior Ashley Borre, who sat on the Dance Marathon steering committee.
“I’m doing well now, but there was a half hour period when I was crashing,” said LSA junior Shannon Riley around noon yesterday, the event’s 26th hour. Riley, who stayed awake by playing cards, was particularly moved by the singing of 12-year-old Logan Shayna.
Riley said Shayna’s rendition of “Aint No Stopping Is Now” made her cry.
Shayna was one of many children and families who had benefited from the money raised at the event who stopped by to thank the participants.
While organizers don’t plan to change the format of the event, Dance Marathon External Director Steve Crompton wants a more diverse group of dancers.
“We want to expand to more areas of campus and don’t want to limit ourselves to students looking for a group to join,” Crompton said.
Still, Dance Marathon hasn’t experienced any slowdown in people who want to participate – so much so that the marathon may be approaching its capacity. Borre spoke of a potential lottery to choose participants in the future.
“Insurance-wise and with accommodations, we can only have so many people in one room,” she said. “We want to take as many people as we can. It’s just a space issue.”
She said students may have to raise more than the $250 now required in order to increase their odds of participating in the marathon.