so, you want to go to ku dance marathon?
You've registered for KU Dance Marathon, great! We like to call it a dance marathon, but it's much more than that. It's neither a dance, nor a marathon, but a celebration of life. You won't be able to fully understand until you attend one of our marathons, but here's a quick summary of the day.
Dancers come to the Kansas Union to start their 10-hour day. After checking in, they will receive their KUDM t-shirt and their hospital band. The hospital band is an important part of the closing ceremony, don't take it off!
Have you ever attended a KU basketball game? Well, we like to bring a little bit of that to our marathon. At basketball games, our players are introduced one-by-one, and as their names are called, the crowd throws tiny pieces of newspaper confetti into the air. At our marathon, we like to treat our families as rock stars too. Each family is introduced, and the participants get to make their own confetti and throw it while they're walking though the tunnel.
The Morale Dance
This is where the "dance" part of dance marathon really comes into play. The Recruitment and Morale directors and committee members will teach everyone the morale dance. The morale dance includes dozens of song clips and easy-to-learn routines. Each hour, dancers learn more and more of the dance until the final hour, where the whole dance is performed before the closing ceremony.
In between learning the dance, we have a plethora of activities planned for the day. In the past, we have held talent shows, zumba, competitions, performances by the African Drum Ensemble, Bar Band, Unity Dance Crew, KU Jeeva, and more live performances. Each hour holds new activities that keep dancers upbeat and active. A lot of the activities correspond with the marathon's theme that year. This year's theme is Heroes.
This is when you see your hard work and fundraising making a difference. We have the pleasure of hearing some of our miracle families tell us their stories of triumph and tragedy, sickness and health. Parents tell us about hospital visits, diagnoses, and family struggles. It reminds us throughout the day of why we are standing.
Lunch and Dinner
Yes, there is free food. Dancers are served two meals from our sponsors that year. In the past, we have had meals from Panda Express, Pizza Hut, and Pickleman's.
The fundraising doesn't necessarily stop the day of the marathon. In honor of the spirit of the day, some donations are given while everyone is present. We give dancers the opportunity to use their social media to fundraise during the marathon. We also have special guests visit and present their donations.
We call the last hour of the marathon "Power Hour." This is something you don't want to miss. The lights are off, the music is blasting, the glow-sticks are abundant. This may be the best party you've ever attended. After Power Hour, we perform the completed morale dance and then go into the hospital cutting ceremony. This ceremony allows our miracle children to travel around the room with scissors, cutting off the dancer's hospital bracelets they received at the beginning of the day. This reminds us that even though the marathon is over, the fight must continue. We get to take our bracelets off, but the miracle children do not. This humbling ceremony is nothing you have ever experienced before.
The Big Reveal
When you look back on your dance marathon experience, one thing that will stand out is the moment before the big reveal. Everyone gets to sit down for the first time in twelve hours as the final minutes of the marathon occur. The executive and steering boards are on stage, everyone is holding their breath, and they reveal the big surprise, the total number of donations we are able to give to our miracle families. Every cent we raise, every hour we stand, all the work we put into the year...is For the Kids.