What is a dance marathon and why do people participate in them?
Dance marathons are one of the most gruelling forms of dance. Participants must endure hours of dancing, then cope with the combined effects of sleep deprivation and lack of nutrition, as well as any injuries sustained during the event. The challenge is to keep going for as long as possible, ideally until you pass a physical/mental/emotional benchmark.
Dance marathons originated in the United States in the 1920s, and quickly caught on. At their peak, over 1,000 dance marathons were organised yearly across America. The Depression put an end to most of them, though some continued through World War Two. In recent years they have become popular again, with marathons held throughout the US and in Europe.
How does the University of Florida’s dance marathon work and what are the benefits to donors and participants alike?
The University of Florida Dance Marathon’s goal is to raise money and awareness to support multiple sclerosis research. To accomplish this, all the money we raise is donated directly to the MDA, allowing them to directly provide funding for multiple sclerosis research. There also are benefits for both the donors and participants alike. For example, some of the money donated to us is distributed among various charities in our area, including Ronald McDonald House Charities and Heifer International. The organizers have an established following of volunteers who are passionate about getting their friends or family members involved in working toward a common goal. For some, the donation of time and money is an act of self-sacrifice in order to benefit others. This is especially true for participants who are spending their days and nights on hard floors throughout the week in order to raise money for charity.
As a student organization, we also have many volunteers who do not participate themselves but still get involved by donating their time, money or resources. Many of our volunteers go above and beyond to be able to help us out, such as driving equipment and clothing to participants, printing posters and table materials, and online marketing and web design. The benefits the donors receive can be seen in their change in perspective and the knowledge they are doing their part to benefit others both locally and internationally.
Who are some of the biggest donors to the UF dance marathon and what motivates them to give so much money each year?”
The biggest donors to the UF Dance Marathon are our Donor of the Year and Grand Marshal. In recent years, three individuals have been named Donor of the Year: Ralph and Donna Vance, Dan and Jodie Turner, and John and Brandy Strong. The Vances give most of their time to helping other groups raise money for multiple sclerosis research. The Turners, who have been involved with the Dance Marathon for seven years, run their own business but live in the area, and are longtime supporters of UMFD. The Strongs have worked together professionally as well as personally; they are active members of the dance community.
We are proud to have our 3rd and 4th Donor of the Year, Jim and Douglas Baird – donors since 2006. Jim Baird is president of the Orange Parks Foundation which created an outdoor recreational area in Orange Park. He is also a development endeer for First Fidelity Bank.
John Routh Jr. has been named Grand Marshal for 2010, becoming only the third individual to be named Grand Marshal twice (the first two were Dennis and Connie Kientz). He has been involved with the Dance Marathon since 1996 and has been a major contributor from the onset. John and his wife, Brandy Strong, have both been recognized for their generous contributions by being named Florida’s “Annual Volunteer of the Year” by Greater Jacksonville United Charities.
Donors generally give their money or goods to support the marathon because they believe in what we do. Because most individuals will never meet those they help fund, they are motivated by the thought that they are making a difference in someone else’s life.
How can people who want to donate but can’t afford to give large sums of money still make a difference?”
If you have a small amount of money to donate that would be very valuable and make a difference, we will gladly accept it. To contact us, please call us at 904-392-3900. Or you can donate online at: http://www.dancemarathon.com/contactus.aspx
The Dance Marathon is an annual charitable event that takes place in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida. This event has made a real impact and it’s difficult for us to continue without your continued support.
“When you have no other way of giving, when you have nothing else to give…That’s the time to give.”
–Elie Wiesel (1928–2016)
Comments: I agree with the sentiments and hope this article brings some attention in Jax.
Posted by: Pat G | Apr 30, 2012 at 12:44:26 AM
Dance Marathon is a great organization and the staff is awesome. I’ve seen how much staff loves and cares for the kids. Everyone involved works very hard to make the participants have a great time. … I can’t believe that one day these kids will be parents and will pass this tradition down to their children.
Posted by: Ty | Mar 29, 2012 at 11:01:13 AM
What are some of the unique ways that people have raised money for their local dance marathon programs?”
a. Charity City, Tampa. The annual dance marathon in Tampa held at the Festival Park Mall has been raising money for the Dance Marathon in Florida for the past 11 years and is one of the largest of its kind. In 2009, 811 participants raised a total of $100,000.
b. Dance Marathon Wisconsin, Madison. Most dance marathons in the country are held on or around May 1 or September 11. The Dance Marathon in Wisconsin is held on May 5, a day when many of the young people participate in a “run-walk” event to raise money for the University Athletic Association (UAA). Over 850 students and people from the community took part this year as they raised $64,000.
c. Viva Dancer, Philadelphia. This dance marathon was started in 2007 by the University of the Sciences, which is the oldest college of pharmacy in the United States. The event is organized by volunteers and takes place at Veterans Stadium over a two day period. This year, almost 400 participants raised $102,000.