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The FSU Dance Marathon Experience From a First-Year Dancer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Every year we constantly see people posting and talking about Dance Marathon around campus. You might even notice some students missing from your Friday class once every spring semester. You might hear about how they’re at Dance Marathon, or you might see tables on campus with people getting pied in the face for donations. What really is Dance Marathon though? Well, we’ve probably all heard the basic answer. It’s an event that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network where participants stand for 10 to 20 hours not only to honor and raise awareness for them but to help raise even more money. That’s just Dance Marathon on the basic level though. The big question on everyone’s minds is what actually happens at the marathon? I was a first-year dancer during the 10-hour garnet shift this year, and I’m here to give you all the details.

I’d like to start off with the best things about Dance Marathon because it truly is an amazing thing. My favorite part was how you actually get to see and meet a lot of the families that are greatly impacted by the organization. They come to the marathon and go around participating in some of the various activities, and you often get the opportunity to interact with them. It’s so uplifting. Many of these children remain so positive while going through some of the hardest medical battles, and to see them be so strong is guaranteed to put a smile on your face or tears in your eyes. Every hour a different miracle family will go up on stage and tell their story while all participants kneel and listen. Their stories are truly inspiring.

One thing that was quite a surprise to me was how there isn’t much actual dancing, while each hour is some different type of organized plan such as a silent disco or power hour where you try to raise as much money as possible, the dancing is at a minimum. Rather than dancing, they have various activities for you to participate in, such as Mario Kart, a bounce house, arts and crafts. These things help you keep busy and stimulated while ignoring how bad your feet hurt after a few hours of nonstop standing. They also have an area to buy snacks and other various Dance Marathon commodities such as merchandise, the privilege to watch a movie or sitting time.

While Dance Marathon can be a lot of fun and games, there are definitely things that could be improved upon. One thing is the food. After arriving at the civic center at 8:30 a.m., you receive one snack and dinner before leaving at 10:30 p.m. Also, despite asking about food preferences prior, they had no options for gluten-free people. I was told before to pack snacks by second and third-year dancers, so thankfully I was well nourished, but it definitely is important to keep in mind for people thinking of participating. You also have the option of a friend to bring you food. It also can be a bit pricey for those on a tighter budget. After paying a $25 participation fee and purchasing a shirt made by your respective organization you’re participating with, if you desire to purchase extra snacks, drinks, sitting time, merchandise or have a friend visit you all these things come at a price. This can be something that when starting to raise money for the marathon you may not realize, I know I didn’t, so if you have a tighter budget it’s important to know.

Overall, Dance Marathon was a very fulfilling experience. While there were times when I was tired, my feet hurt and I debated giving up, the feeling of pride once you get to sit for the first time after 10 hours and the happiness you gain knowledge about all the children you’re helping is indescribable. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. You will be tired, sore and have a hankering for a warm full meal after, but the joy and pride will overshadow all of that.

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From Naples, FL Kaitlyn is a student at FSU majoring in Editing, Writing, and Media. During her time at FSU she’s worked on the undergraduate literary staff before moving up to the masthead as well as being apart of the Beta Mu Gamma Phi Beta chapter.