The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Dance Marathon kicks off

Alicia Smith | Friday, April 3, 2009

Dance Marathon – an event in which participants are encouraged to stay on their feet for 12 hours – kicks off tonight in the Anegla Athletic Facilty at the College.

Dance Marathon is an organization that fundraises for Riley Hospital for the duration of the school year. Each spring, the club presents its largest event, the Dance Marathon.

During this event students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to dance for 12 hours in honor of the kids at Riley Hospital.

“To me, Dance Marathon means just giving up one night of your time to help a little kid who would give anything to be out of a hospital bed and dancing all night long,” Dance Marathon president Sarah Voss said.

But the marathon isn’t just about dancing. Participants will have the opportunity to play games, or even just watch.

“The event isn’t primarily focused on dancing. The idea of the night is to stay on your feet for 12 hours,” Voss said. “It doesn’t matter if you dance or if you just want to watch or if you just want to participate in the board games, or jumping in the bounce house. There’s plenty of things to do besides dance. But the main idea is that you just keep moving for the kids at Riley.”

Dance Marathon will host families who were impacted from Riley Hospital to speak to the crowd, and there will be a multitude of activities for the kids and dancers to do.

“We’ll have rock climbing, a bounce house. We will have ‘learning the morale’ line dance. We will have stories from Riley families; hopefully a few Riley doctors will be there. We will have crafts, and games,” Voss said. “We have a ton of different games. I heard there’s going to be a Fear Factor challenge, and so we have a lot going on. You’ll have to come and find out all there’s going to be.”

Although the event already has about 280 registered participants, everyone is invited to attend.

“Students can register starting at 7:15 in the Saint Mary’s Dining Hall in the Student Center on Friday,” Voss said. “We’ll have registration starting in the west wing, and they can still come and participate.”

Voss said dancing at the marathon is not the only way to help. Donations are always accepted at the Dance Marathon Web site, www.smcdm.org.

“Anyone can donate there,” she said. “If you want to donate to commemorate a certain dancer, you can put their name in the comment section so they know you donated in their name.”

This is the fourth year Saint Mary’s has offered Dance Marathon. The event is recognized across the United States.

“This year Dance Marathon won the Incentive Award, which is the award that designated Saint Mary’s as the model Dance Marathon for the entire United States. Which is a huge honor because there are over 100 dance marathons in the country,” Voss said. “Just a week or so ago, some of our girls traveled to Orlando, Fla. and went to Disney World and met 50 Riley champions, from each of the 50 states that represent their hospitals. So that was a big honor.”

“Our motto is: ‘we dance because we can, we dance for those who can’t,'” Voss said.