My Experience at the University of Minnesota Dance Marathon

Picture this: A room full of college students in bright teal t-shirts–dancing with glow sticks, bouncy houses, hypnotist shows and circles of people singing High School Musical songs at the top of their lungs. This is the Minnesota Dance Marathon.

What is the Dance Marathon? If you didn’t know, Dance Marathon is an organization that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Here at the U, the money raised at the Dance Marathon goes straight to Gillette Children’s Hospital

On the day of the event, teams flood to the recwell and dance their hearts out for eight hours in support of the kids. I had the pleasure of attending for my second year in a row this past week, and it ended up being one of the most energizing, rewarding and exciting days of this semester, here are six reasons why:

  1. Silent Disco. One of the coolest parts of the day was the silent disco, a room in which everyone was wearing headphones listening to their choice of music while dancing together. My friend Jordyn and I walked into the silent disco room only to hear sporadic singing and shouting, with a sea of dancers busting moves in every which way, without any sort of unison. We couldn’t help but laugh, but as we were given a set of headphones we were sucked into the same world they were in.

  2. The Families. Hands down, the best part of the Dance Marathon was hearing the stories from the families directly affected by the donations for Gillette Children’s Hospital. It was so heartwarming to interact with the kids and see the children and families so joyful at the event. Hearing about their journeys and witnessing their resilience and strength in front of my eyes was incredibly inspiring and something that I will always cherish.

  3. Morale Dance. To mark each hour of the marathon, the Dance Marathon leadership team led a morale dance filled with a compilation of upbeat songs to pump up the dancers for the next hour of the event. I have to admit, by the last morale dance my friends and I were experts.

  4. Power Hour. During the last hour, all of the lights in the gym were shut off and the glow sticks came out. I could feel the energy pulsating in the room as we danced and sang to throwback songs. The best part of the hour was when the one and only Goldy the Gopher made an appearance. I finally fulfilled my dream of getting a picture with him.

  5. Raising over 26,000! After the power hour, all of the participants found out how much money was donated. In the end, over 26,000 dollars were raised! It was incredible to huddle up and embrace with all of the members in the excitement of all of that money going to such an amazing organization.

Overall, this year's Minnesota Dance Marathon was one to remember. I feel so lucky to have taken part in a cause that has positively affected the lives of so many children and families. I can’t wait for next year! If you’re interested in getting involved in the planning of this magical day, be sure to check out the student group here.