Name: Paige Leskin
Hometown: Tenafly, NJ
Major: Journalism and Political Science Double Major
This is your fourth year doing DM! How do you feel about it as the 30 hours approach?
I love Dance Marathon season so much!! There’s nothing that’s like being inside that tent with a group of people so dedicated to fundraising and benefiting a cause. Dance Marathon, despite everyone being exhausted, brings out the very best in people and nothing matches that sense of community.
What got you interested in DM?
I’m someone who thrives on crowds and excitement, and I love matching the level in the tent. DM consistently is planning such a massive event all to raise a large amount of money for a great, great cause. DM is so entrenched in the Evanston community and serving to the Chicago area each year.
Are you involved in any committees?
Yes! This is my third year on Dance & Beneficiary Relations. It means I help to keep up the spirits of all the dancers and be there to support them. I also form a personal relationship with those who are benefiting from our fundraising. It’s given me an opportunity to problem solve in a crazy environment and put a face to a dollar sign, which is so valuable and important to me.
What’s your favorite DM memory?
As my team’s group head last year, I spent months in charge of almost 100 dancers’ fundraising and organizing all of our logistics. It was our first year as a new pairing (Gamma Phi with Delt and Evans Scholars), thus I was communicating with new people and had to plan an entire new philanthropy to fundraise. So after all that stress, it was so satisfying to see it all come together in the last block and see a fundraising total for our team that was the largest it had ever been. I got to tearfully thank my team for all their hard work and I felt so connected to these people I had just spent 30 hours with.
Do you have any suggestions for costume/footwear for other dancers?
Don’t wear costumes that are too hot or have too many moving parts! It’ll seem fun for the first 10 minutes, but then it’ll just be uncomfortable and bothersome as you get tired and sweaty. Bring multiple pairs of underwear and socks, trust me.
What is your favorite part about the process?
Those final moments each year when they reveal the final check. It never ceases to amaze me and get me to break down. It makes the sweat and tears from those 30 hours all worth it, and keeps me coming back each year.
Why have you decided to stick with DM for four years now?
The knowledge I’m doing this for others and I can lean on the support of 1500 of my fellow students. Also, the knowledge I have to benefit younger dancers and encourage them to stick with it.
Do you have any tips for first time dancers?
Keep an open mind. Listen to us old timers! It’s damn hard but I can tell you we know what we’re talking about. Truly don’t sleep at all, bring more snacks than you could ever need and stay hydrated!!!