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Dance Marathon Begins March 2

February 26, 2007 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- More than 600 dancers will move their feet to the beat the weekend of March 2 to 4 during Northwestern University's 2007 Dance Marathon (DM). All fund-raising events that will be held on the Evanston campus at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, are open to the public.

This year, Dance Marathon will benefit Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF).

More than 300 couples will begin dancing at 7 p.m. Friday (March 2), and continue until 1 a.m. Sunday (March 4). Dancers take 10-minute breaks every three hours to change costumes for the different three-hour block themes. New this year is a Celebrity Silent Auction that will be held from 3 p.m. Friday (March 2) to 2 a.m. Saturday (March 3) and from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday (March 3).

Three Chicago mothers who could no longer tolerate the fact that their children's lives may be forever altered by the potential destruction of uncontrolled seizures launched CURE in 1998. CURE advocates for more federal funding for epilepsy research, awards grants to researchers and sponsors scientific conferences to discuss research trends.

As the secondary beneficiary, Evanston Community Foundation will receive 10 per percent of this year's proceeds, the same amount they received last year. ECF awards grants and conducts programs that build and unite community-wide resources in Evanston. ECF has benefited from Dance Marathon since 1998.

More than 1,000 Northwestern students are directly involved in Dance Marathon, making it one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the country. The majority of dancers will be students, but some faculty and staff members will be involved.

“Our 600 dancer spots and a sizable wait list filled up in record time and we have seen wonderful support and enthusiasm at our all-dancer events,” said senior Nadia Rawls, the 2007 Dance Marathon executive co-chair with senior Chip Newcom.

In addition to the numerous events being held throughout Norris Center during Dance Marathon weekend, mini-Dance Marathons will also be held for alumni nationwide.

Visitors to Dance Marathon can check up on dancers in the Louis Room (for a small entrance fee) or take part in the many money-raising events at Norris during the weekend. Celebrity messages and television monitors around the room with encouragement from dancers' friends will help to keep the dancers' energy high. Here are some of the highlights:

Friday night (March 2): Fund-raising events will include a Dance Show featuring performances by Northwestern's Ladycats Dance Team, Graffiti Dancers, NAYO Dance Ensemble, Boomshaka, Fusion Dance Company and other dance groups.

Saturday (March 3): Highlights include a morning 5K run; a spa where one will be able to pamper themselves with hair styling, manicures and massages; a “recess” event with pillow fights and other fun games that one played as a child; afternoon arcade games; a coffeehouse featuring entertainment; and a High School Battle of the Bands. An evening Variety Show will feature some of the most talented groups on campus.

Saturday (March 3): The annual family-friendly Dance Marathon Kids Fair from noon to 4 p.m. will have a full schedule of student group performances including a reading of the “Velveteen Rabbit” and a Magic Show. There also will be other activities and carnival games, including a Student Athlete Autograph session.

A yearlong fundraising effort that leads up to Dance Marathon weekend is aimed to engage the student body, local residents and the broader Chicago community.

“Over the past year we have had 40 plus events, including an art show, open mic nights, a spelling bee and weekly trivia, to name a few,” said Executive Co-Chair Newcom. “We also had a very successful third annual benefit at the Adler Planetarium. We are happy that, as in past years, so many members of the Evanston community are supporting Dance Marathon again this year. With increasing support from alumni, students, faculty, and also the Chicago area community, we think this year's Dance Marathon will be the best yet.”

Krysta Kauble and Kunal Kadakia, the 2007 DM publicity co-chairs, also are confident that the 2007 event will be “the best Dance Marathon ever.”  

In addition to the 600 dancers, more than 300 students work all year long fundraising, volunteering and preparing for the dancers with their efforts culminating the first weekend in March.

Most of the $750 (plus $80 registration fee) that dancing couples must raise comes from soliciting donations from family and friends or “canning” for cash. The top fundraising couple will receive an eight-day tour for two in London and Paris, including round-trip airfare that is valued at $4,500.

Last year, the Northwestern community raised $686,377 to support the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention and ECF.

For more information about the 2007 Dance Marathon and these beneficiaries, call the publicity co-chairs Kunal Kadakia at (516) 316-2091 or Krysta Kauble at (816) 863-5632. Or contact the Dance Marathon office at (847) 491-2387, e-mail <media@nudm.org> or visit the Dance Marathon Web site at <www.nudm.org>.

Topics: Campus Life