Dance Marathon

My Experience at Dance Marathon as a Captain

Right from the start of college, I knew I wanted to make a difference and get involved on Florida State’s campus. In September of 2019, I was offered the position to be a Public Relations Captain for FSU’s Dance Marathon! It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse so I accepted it. We started having meetings in October, all the way up to the start of Dance Marathon on March 6. Throughout these months, I met an awesome group of girls who were super passionate about this organization that benefits children. Many girls on my team had done Dance Marathon before and knew what to expect. I was brand new to all of this and didn’t know what to expect. I had done a dance marathon in high school but it was significantly smaller than Florida State’s DM and it only lasted four hours, unlike FSU’s 40 hours. I wasn’t sure if I would be miserable the entire weekend because of exhaustion or fall in love with it the second it started. I am here to be honest with you and tell you it was a mixture of both. 

The day before the marathon I was trying not to stress-cry. As a Captain, I had to help set up the marathon and attend many meetings throughout the week. I knew this was what I signed up for, but it became very stressful when it was added on top of all my homework and exams. On top of that, as a Captain, you not only have to pick a 20-hour shift, you also stay for opening and closing ceremonies, and help clean up at the end. 

On the first day of the marathon, I was ecstatic and filled with a lot of energy. I was amazed seeing it all come together finally in the Civic Center. It wasn’t my shift yet, so I was only there for opening ceremonies and there was so much excitement in the room. Every time a new dancer would walk into the room, all the captains cheered them on and it made me smile knowing everyone was so passionate about this organization. I mean, we had dancers from all different types of organizations and clubs come together for this one cause. After, I went home, I packed up all my necessities for the marathon and I got my last good night of sleep. 

The next day, I came in early for the second opening ceremony and I was still just as excited! My hair was braided, my makeup was on, and I was dancing to “Hips Don’t Lie” while welcoming all the dancers in. After, the marathon officially started. The first few hours flew by. As a Public Relations Captain, I took a lot of interviews from dancers on their experience. Each hour all of us heard a miracle story to remind us why we were dancing. Then, I got to enjoy parts of the marathon just like a normal external dancer would—I played basketball, I made friendship bracelets and I, of course, danced. By 1 a.m., I was starting to feel drowsy, but I knew silent disco was happening in a couple of hours, so I kept my energy up. I made sure to learn the morale dance and socialize with different captains. By 3 a.m., silent disco started. I can say this was the highlight of my experience at the marathon (besides hearing the families). They turned off all the lights, three DJ’s came out, and we all started blasting the music in our headphones. If you took the headphones off for just a second, you could hear everyone singing the songs acapella. At one point, we were all singing “Empire State of Mind” so loud, I am sure someone outside heard us. 

Dance marathon 2020

Once silent disco was over, that’s when the crash set in. And it set in hard. I was trying not to fall asleep for a good two hours. I became grumpy and I texted all my friends asking if one of them could bring me coffee. Finally, one of them did. And I was revived. I swear that cup of coffee healed my soul that day. At that point, it was almost 10 a.m. and we only had a few hours left. I took more interviews to see how they compared to the ones from earlier, and you could hear the exhaustion in people’s scratchy voices. We heard more miracle stories, practiced the morale dance and pushed for fundraising. By 2 p.m., we started the closing ceremony and were reminded why we were doing this: because one day this could be our child or our family. Finally, it was reveal time. My friends and I saw $1.9 million held up and we immediately hugged. We knew it was something to be proud of. It was a moment I’ll always hold close to my heart. 

After, I helped clean up, which did not take long at all with a strong team. Finally, I went home, took a shower and knocked out. People have asked me if they should apply to be a captain, and if you want to be a part of an amazing organization with some of the most passionate people, then I would give it a shot. However, know that it’s a huge responsibility, especially the week of the marathon. And I can’t stress this enough, bring your own food. No matter what, I think everyone should experience Dance Marathon at least once at Florida State. It’s an experience like no other and it will leave you feeling hopeful for the future. 

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