There are hundreds of student organizations on campus, but few are known by and involve as many people as Dance Marathon.

“Dance Marathon is in its sixth year here at the University of Michigan,” said LSA junior Michael Mayer, who was executive director of this year’s Dance Marathon. “We are the fastest-growing Dance Marathon in the country and have grown each year in terms of money made and participants.”

This year topped all others when the event’s donation totaled a stunning $197,397 – which was all contributed to the University’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak.

It all starts when dancers sign up in the fall, each promising to raise at least $250 throughout the year. Most participants ask for donations on the Diag to reach this goal. Mayer reported that one student raised over $2000 this year.

Dancers are also given a chance to bond with their fellow marathoners during the many Dance Marathon sponsored activities during the year.

“These include Rick’s Bar night, Yost skate night, a pumpkin carving event and pajama party with our Dance Marathon families, dinner at Rio Bravo, Standing Room Only (a campus-wide variety show), Charity Ball and much more,” Mayer said.

It ends with the dancers’ participation in the actual Dance Marathon. During the 30-hour marathon held at the Michigan indoor track building, dancers cannot sit down or fall asleep. Their challenge is lightened though as they are provided with abundant amounts of food from Ann Arbor restaurants as well as activities to do during their day and a half of duty. And of course there is a lot of dancing. Participants learn a huge dance routine in segments throughout the marathon.

And for those who want to still be part of the Dance Marathon experience, but with less responsibility, there is the option of being a “moraler.” Moralers participate only on marathon day in five-hour shifts. During these shifts, they talk to dancers and keep them going, as well as get to enjoy the experience.

“This year’s marathon was truly remarkable,” said LSA junior Chris Grapes, who was local marketing chair of this year’s Dance Marathon. “Not only was the marathon itself hugely successful, but many events we had leading up to the marathon also went really well. I mean, how many times does Rio Bravo run out of food because they have too many people coming to their restaurant?”

If you are interested in being a dancer, moraler or event planner for next year’s Dance Marathon, e-mail dm.info@umich.edu.

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