With all the tables, chairs and couches that typically clutter Hirst Lounge in Wilson Commons, imagining a group of 50 people performing the Electric Slide there seems slightly far-fetched. Or at least it did.

Yet this past Friday it indeed happened as Sigma Delta Tau hosted its first annual ‘Feel the Beat” Dance Marathon, setting groups of would-be dancers against each other in order to raise money for charity.

Roughly 10 groups of four people each signed up for the event, according to the ΣΔΤ Co-Annual Philanthropy Chair and sophomore Livie Cohn. The premise was simple: Participants endured four themed rounds of uninterrupted music, provided by WRUR. After each 30-minute round came a break of roughly 15 minutes. Any participant who failed to continue dancing, no matter the length of time, was expelled from the competition. The end result, theoretically, was one very exhausted winner.

‘People showed up in costumes, with crazy team names, and even with signature moves,” ΣΔΤ Co-Annual Philanthropy Chair and sophomore Erin Gamoran said.

The dancers did seem to be actively embracing the experience. Two groups of Alpha Delta Phi pledges, earned the team monikers of ‘Risky Business” by showing up to the marathon not wearing pants. Then there was the team of Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers, one of whom managed an Irish step dance during a playing of ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe” in the final round. And there was plenty of fist pumping to go around for everyone.

All competitors came for a shot at dance glory, while all proceeds went to ΣΔΤ’s national philanthropy, Prevent Child Abuse America. In the fall semester, ΣΔΤ annually holds the popular ‘Mr. U of R” competition, but they have had trouble establishing a spring philanthropy event.

‘In the past we have hosted a Twister Tournament, but this year we decided to try something new,” Gamoran said. ‘Dance marathons are a popular way among larger college campuses to raise money, and previous executive boards of Sigma Delta Tau here at UR as well as our national advisor, have been toying around with the idea of bringing one to the UR Community.”

The first attempt at it began at 6:30 p.m. with a round of Top 40 hits yes, that included a certain anthem by Miley Cyrus with most contestants surviving in good condition. During the first break, dancers could compete in a joke-telling contest to win bagels from Bruegger’s, one of many miniature prizes given out over the night for various contests. While the winner was a student imitating a fish (you had to be there), the most attention-grabbing was another student’s attempt at a knock-knock joke, while simultaneously clutching a suspect ginger ale bottle.

Following the first round were ones based on electronic music (yes, there was ‘Sandstorm”), ’90s hits and ’80s hits, respectively. At times it became hard to tell exactly who had been cut because everyone still wanted to dance, whether or not there’s competition. There was still music, there were still balloons and there were still friends who needed encouragement to stay in the game.

Going into the final round, the judges cut slacking competitors left and right, and when the final song, Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” finished, only five competitors remained.

With two members left, Team Risky Business took home the prize. Team ΔΓ took home a prize for best costumes, and Team ΔΚΕ took home the prize for strongest showing of support.

For ΣΔΤ, though, it seemed like they may finally have found a spring anchor event.

‘Hopefully as the dance marathon becomes more well-known we will have even higher attendance, but I think that for any event, and especially a first time one on campus, the turnout was really amazing,” Gamoran said.

Brenneman is a Take Five Scholar.



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