Over 300 Duhawks joined Loras faculty and Dubuque community members this past Saturday, April 24, from noon to midnight for Loras College’s 11th Dance Marathon.
The annual Dance Marathon came back this year with numerous changes, such as changing the name from Duhawk Dance Marathon to Loras College Dance Marathon, adding more “miracle families” to the organization, and bringing in additional corporate sponsors. Co-presidents Kelsey Callahan and Andrea Enda along with morale captains and e-Board work throughout the year to bring the event together, and make the day run smoothly for both the miracle families and dancers. The 12 hour experience took place throughout the ACC, Graber and the Rock Bowl.
Junior Neil Bingham emceed the event, which began at noon in the ACC Ballrooms.
“My favorite part of DM is that moment right before it all starts, when all of our hard work comes together, the moral captains are outside with the Miracle Families and we can hear the crowd getting excited. It’s a great feeling to see it all come together,” Bingham said.
To kick off the day, President Collins gave a short speech expressing his support for the day. After prayer, morale captains entered and the miracle families were introduced. Morale captains began to teach the dance to participants. The first hour consisted of learning the dance piece by piece. Each year there is a morale dance that is created by captains. It’s a collage of quite a few songs that is performed every hour on the hour throughout the day.
Every hour has its own theme. There is an hour dedicated to sponsors, one to the miracle families, a “rave hour,” etc. Miracle families are also given an opportunity to tell the stories of their kiddos throughout the day. Skits are also performed throughout the day, including highlights such as a lip sync battle between Art Sunleaf, junior Kyzer Moore and sophomore Jacob Formella, a dance by the Student Life staff, and performances by the sorority and fraternity.
Besides the dancing that was in the main ballrooms, there were many other opportunities to stay busy throughout the day. From 2-4 p.m. in the CAB office, there was a “puppy room,” where children and participants could go in to play with puppies brought in by volunteers. Other rooms included a “glow room” with neon lights and games like ping pong, a room dedicated to miracle angels that have passed away, and a room for letter writing to dancers or kiddos. Haircuts for donation took place outside the cafeteria, and there was also a space dedicated to bone marrow donation, so dancers could get tested to see if they matched anyone in the registry.
The end of the night came to a conclusion with one final performance of the morale dance, and of course, the big reveal. To go along with the theme of renovation and change for DM 11, they placed a tarp decorated with a bus in front of the final fundraising number. Just like in Extreme Makeover Renovation, dancers had to yell “Move that bus!” The tarp was moved, and the final number raised was revealed: $201,717.44. The money is donated to the University of Iowa’s Children’s Hospital in order to provide financial, physical and emotional support to the families and the kiddos.