The dance marathon began at the Cloister Club in Ida Noyes Hall last Friday at 8 p.m. with students dancing to the Beach Boys. By 2 p.m. on Saturday, after 18 hours of dancing to Aretha Franklin and Ja Rule, the marathon had raised $5,500 for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation.
Jasmine Harris, a second-year in the College was one of the MCs of the event. “I shook my tushie for the video camera provided by COUP [the Council on University Programming]. Every muscle in my body was sore. I can’t believe how many muscles I have.”
The best part, according to Harris, was when the marathon paused to hear from a man whose family will benefit from the cause. His wife was infected with HIV unknowingly by her high-school sweetheart, and the disease was passed on to their son and daughter. “I did a little bit of crying when he was talking about it,” Harris said.
Participating groups paid $150 to attend the event, which featured 19 DJs and MCs, as well as University cheerleaders and student music groups. Money also came from bake sales and small donations from individual participants; buckets were available for dancers and spectators to contribute their small change.
“The actual dancing was just to show student support and get the students involved,” Harris said.
All proceeds went to the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which has benefited from past dance marathons at Northwestern University and Columbia University. COUP’s sponsorship provided not only music, but gift certificates from participating businesses such as Virgin Records and the Museum of Science and Industry and, according to Harris, “nurses, in case anyone fainted.”
COUP kept the dancers going with breaks for ice cream, alcohol-free cocktails, Play-Doh, and board games. “They didn’t let us keep time. We danced like the first six hours straight,” said first-year in the College Ruth Klotz-Chamberlin. “But they had games. They tried to go through phases. They didn’t want us to die, basically.”
Halfway through the night, some of the dancers were facing exhaustion. “Everyone was pretty super-pumped for the first four to six hours. 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. were pretty dead,” Klotz-Chamberlin said. “When we were playing cards, people were leaning against each other trying not to fall asleep.”
The nature of the event, however, got the dancers back on their feet. “A second wave came. It felt like the night before,” Klotz-Chamberlin said. “I don’t think anybody dropped out. It was definitely positive. Just knowing when it was like two in the morning you were just excited to be dancing and helping with the cause.”
The marathon began with a meal for the 40 dancers provided by Giordano’s, and concluded with a barbeque.
“After the marathon I slept for 17 hours straight,” said Mihra Rittmann, a second-year in the College.
“My knees were killing me, but it was definitely worthwhile, especially when he came in with his daughter,” Rittmann said. “It touched most of us because we had been dancing for 17 hours and it was that last push to make it worthwhile. I plan to do it again for the next two years. I hope this happens again. I think it has a lot of potential.”
“I wore costumes, I wore different pajamas at different times, I sung a lot with the music,” Harris said. “The main goal was that the dancers were up and happy, and to remind them that the reason that they were dancing was to save