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Dance Marathon 2009 Registers Record Number of Dancers

October 30, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- More than 35 student groups and hundreds of unaffiliated dancers have registered for Northwestern University's annual Dance Marathon (DM), shattering previous registration records. As a result, up to 1,000 individuals may participate in the 30-hour dance-a-thon fundraiser March 6 to 8.

"While 1,000 dancers signed up to dance, that does not necessarily mean that 1,000 dancers will participate," said Dance Marathon executive co-chair Phillip Reich. "We usually see some people drop out as the event gets closer. This year, one of our goals is to retain as many participants as possible and reduce the drop-out rate significantly."

In past years, groups have been required to limit the number of dancers they could register, but this year, organizations were permitted to register as many dancers as they wished in order to show the full financial impact of the groups and encourage more people to participate.

"We have a much more diverse offering of groups this year," said Dance Marathon finance co-chair Peter Koelsch. "We saw our normal dorms and Greek chapters coming out, but there were also a number of academic, performance and cultural groups we don't normally see."

Dance Marathon's 2009 primary beneficiary is Project Kindle, a nonprofit organization that serves and educates children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Project Kindle works with more than 15,000 individuals every year through camp sessions, a speakers' bureau, a scholarship program and the "i know" initiative, an awareness and education program.

For the 12th consecutive year, Dance Marathon's secondary beneficiary is the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF), a philanthropic organization dedicated to enriching Evanston now and in the future by building and managing its own and other community endowments, addressing the city's changing needs through grant-making and providing leadership on important community issues. The ECF will receive 10 percent of funds raised.

"Throughout the year we will be implementing new ambassador programs between our primary beneficiary and the dancers," added Reich. "We hope that these efforts will inspire the dancers prior to the weekend of DM and give them even more motivation to raise money for ECF and Project Kindle."

Last year, more than 750 students danced for 30 consecutive hours, raising a record-breaking $933,855.42 in total donations (including in kind and product donations). The Dance Marathon Executive Board presented a check for $593,739.97 to Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a Chicago-based national organization that works to eliminate pediatric cancer and help children with cancer and their families. Another check for $65,971.11 went to the ECF.

For more information on Dance Marathon 2009, visit http://www.nudm.org/.

(Nathalie Rayter, a sophomore in the School of Education and Social Policy, contributed to this story.)

Watch a documentary on Dance Marathon 2008:

Topics: Campus Life