I haven’t ever seen anything quite like what I saw Saturday. Neon t-shirts and tutus, rave gloves with LED lights on the fingertips and shutter shades even Kanye West would be jealous of were worn by hundreds of students showing their stuff on the dance floor at the first-ever University of Northern Iowa Dance Marathon event in Maucker Union.
And what did 12 hours of fist-pumping and getting their groove on do, you ask? All of those burned calories ended up raising $56,473 for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which was above and beyond Dance Marathon’s original goal of $14,000 — and that was in their first year holding the event.
During the event, families with children that had been treated at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital were able to share their stories with the crowd and show how much their lives were touched. Thanks to the 700 participants in Dance Marathon, the lives of so many families will be changed.
When it was time for Power Hour, the dance floor turned into a rave and every single participant, children and all, were dancing their hearts out. If I didn’t already want to be involved in Dance Marathon, this is when the participants at UNI made me all ready to sign up for next year.
The day was full of events for the participants, and I must say I was pretty jealous. First of all, there was free food. Not just any food, but delicious, mouth-watering meals from Panda Express and Texas Roadhouse. (I’m not sure if they had those delicious buns or not, but they would have been completely destroyed if they would have come within three feet from me. Yum.)
When the participants needed a break from dancing, they were able to play as much free laser tag as they wanted, watch special performances by groups at UNI, such as Orchesis and Vocal AmmUNItion, and had the opportunity to win giveaways.
There were trains being formed, moments when the whole crowd was dropping it low to the "Cha Cha Slide" and even a lot of Carlton lookalikes from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" when "Jump On It" blasted out of the speakers. Well, minus the sweater vests.
It’s clear all of the hours the team took preparing for Dance Marathon paid off. Literally. Over $56,000 worth. And as for next year, clear the dance floor — My Kanye glasses have already been ordered.