Dance Marathon raises money for fifth year in a row
For the fifth consecutive year, Adagio Dance Company raised money for Children’s Miracle Network this Sunday through the Brandeis Dance Marathon, finishing the night with a total of $5,789.96 for the cause.
Adagio and other attendees used their love of dance to support the families and children at Boston Children’s Hospital during an eight-hour long event in Sherman Function Hall. The event was also sponsored by the Brandeis Pluralism Alliance. Although no dance experience is necessary to participate in the event, dance is a central aspect of the fundraiser and many activities during the marathon are dance-related. This year’s theme was “Carpe DM,” a clever pun on the Latin phrase carpe diem, or “seize the day.”
In an interview with the Justice, Head Coordinator of the Dance Marathon Brittany Ritell ’15 explained the theme of the event saying, “Seize the day means making the best of every moment because you never know when something like your health will be taken away from you. Live it up while you can because not everyone can do that.” She also sees the theme as representing how intimidating the idea of “dance” can be for some people, yet, as part of Dance Marathon, they still participate in order to help others. Ritell, who has been involved with Adagio and the marathon since her first year, explained that the committee actually thought of this theme right before the show last year, but saved it to use this year.
The eight-hour long event consisted of many different performances, activities and dance lessons—there was plenty to do for all the attendees. Lori Shapiro ’17 and Gabriella Potter ’18 each taught an energetic Zumba class. The South Asian dance team Chak De Deis performed their hybrid style of South Asian and Western dance, and Intercultural Center dance member Elba Valerio also performed early in the event. Samantha Rockey ’17 demonstrated and gave a lesson on Hula-Hoop performance. The Belly Dance Ensemble, B’yachad, Adagio Dance Ensemble, Hooked on Tap and Swing Dance all performed during the marathon, some also giving lessons to attendants. “There’s a lot of different things going on, so even if dancing isn’t your thing or where your skill set is, you can either learn something or play other games that are dance-related but don’t require a high skill level and dance knowledge,” explained Ritell. Other activities included limbo, the dance to the song “YMCA” and free dance time.
Around the room, attendees could also stop by many stations, such as a station for letter writing to continue fundraising or a coloring station to pass the time. There was also a game station that included activities like a scavenger hunt, word search and trivia. Ritell explained that for the first time this year, they would have “a competition where you get a song at the beginning of the night” and teams of two choreograph routines to perform in a dance-off. In addition, the Dance Marathon also offered a fundraising raffle, which consisted of two movie tickets, signed sports memorabilia, jewelry and various gift certificates.
The organizers put up posters in Sherman Function Hall with the stories of children who had been treated at Boston Children’s Hospital. Participants also decorated the space by signing copies of the Children’s Miracle Network’s logo and arranging them in a heart shape on the wall.
But the Brandeis community wasn’t the only group in attendance. “In addition to the lessons and performances, we actually invite Miracle Children, children who have been helped by Boston Children’s Hospital, to the event,” explained Ritell. This year, Isaiah and Katie, along with their families, attended the marathon where they briefly spoke. “[Isaiah] loves dancing—if you just put on music, he’s so much fun to watch…I’ve been told that [Katie] and her mom also love dance, so it’s going to be a really nice fit for us to have people who love dance because that goes well with the lessons and performances,” said Ritell. Also in attendance was the marathon’s partner from the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, Rosie Holmes.
According to its national website, Dance Marathon is “a nationwide movement involving college and high school students at more than 250 schools across the country” that benefits a sponsor’s local Miracle Network Hospital. Just like the event at Brandeis, chapters all over the country host 12 to 40 hour long events “where the students stay on their feet through dancing, games and entertainment in celebration of the total amount raised that year,” explains the website. 100 percent of the money raised from each Dance Marathon goes to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Overall, the Dance Marathon website reports that they have raised over $62 million for their cause.
In addition to the actual marathon, the committee organized extra events last semester, including a craft day in the lobby of Boston Children’s Hospital in Waltham. “We had crowns, wands, shields, nail polish and things like that and we sat there as kids walked in. If they had time before their appointment, the kids came and hung out with us and would create something, which they got to take home,” Ritell explained. According to Ritell, the simple event was a huge success, appreciated by both the children and parents at the hospital. “It was a great way to help make the cause seem more real to people because it’s really easy to say, ‘Oh, kids in the hospital, let’s help them.’ But it’s really different when you see them and interact with them,” said Ritell.
Ritell, like many other contributors and attendants, is passionate about both dance and helping children, explaining that “part of it is just my love of dance and I’ve really grown to enjoy this event and running it.” Perhaps this is why the Dance Marathon proved such a success.
—Emily Wishingrad and Brooke Granovsky contributed reporting.