Between the bathroom and the snack breaks, Dancer Relations co-chairs Laynie Held and Justin Marquez hardly have a minute to sit – and with good reason. This year's Dance Marathon featured the return of the Norris run-around, as well as three extra port-a-potties, both of which Held and Marquez count as big accomplishments making their jobs easier. NBN caught up with them to hear their thoughts on this year's DM and what future Dance Marathons can hold for the next generation of Wildcats.
We’re most than halfway through. How are you feeling generally?
JM: it’s pretty incredible, more like the unbelievable incredible how quickly it’s gone. It’s been a full 15 hours. We’ve seen the sun set as well as rise because check-in started around 3:30. My voice has deepened; my eyes are bagged and I’m tired, but it’s cool to see how many dancers are still going and that keeps me going and that helps me at my job as someone on DR.
LH: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s kinda crazy to think we’re already past half way. I feel like it literally just started and I blinked and now we’re at Block 6. Everyone’s getting that second wind back and you can feel the energy growing in the tent now that the Heroes are back and you know it’s only gonna go up from here, which is a really good feeling. It’s nice to be able to tell the dancers in there that you’re gonna make it.
You guys are running all over the tent. What job is taking up most of your time?
JM: For us, we coordinate among the different jobs that DR does so it’s never really quite one job that takes over our thing, but I’d say there’s a routine. We always have snacks coming in, so that means DR has to get ready with this cross, which essentially allows food a path to get through the crowd and disperse snacks. We also have people constantly going to the bathroom, so that’s another thing logistically. Norris only has so many bathrooms, so how do we get as many dancers as we can as quickly as possibly to go to the bathroom for their comfort, for their health? So those are the two things that have been occupying my time as dancers walk by ready to go to the bathroom right now.
LH: I would say there’s not one job that we’re spending all our time doing it; we’re moving around a lot, which is fun because we’re getting to interact with a lot of dancers and see a whole spectrum of the activities going on. I agree; it’s a full schedule. We’ve got snacks, we’ve got games, we’ve got the 30-hour dance. So it’s a lot, but it’s good. The block always goes by so fast.
Why did each of you want to be on DM exec and is it living up to your expectations?
LH: This is my second year on exec. I think it’s beaten my expectations, like blown them out of the water. It just reminds me the reason why I chose Northwestern ... They’re dancing for kids they’ve never met in their lives and I think that’s the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever heard.
JM: A lot of the reason I wanted to go to Northwestern was cuz the community that I saw fostered, especially through a community like Northwestern University Dance Marathon, was one I wanted to be a part of ... The leaders of DM exec that I’ve seen were the ones I wanted to exemplify; those were the people that inspired me in the way that I’ve grown as a leader on this campus. That’s why I wanted to be a part of it, as well.
What do you guys want your biggest DM legacy to be?
LH: I don’t think either of us did DM to leave a legacy. We’re part of an organization that’s so much larger than ourselves and will continue to grow and move in so many new and amazing ways in the future, which is really great. So if I had to say what a legacy would be, I would just want it to be that the organization continues to attract people and to grow and continue bettering itself to become the most inclusive activity for all of campus that everyone can participate in, whether it’s dancing or fundraising or learning about the beneficiary, that they’re able to be a part of that and get that feeling that you get when you’re in the tent in Block 10.
JM: Jokingly, I’d say port-a-potties.
LH: Oh, good call. Duh.
JM: This is a much bigger organization that any one individual. To make some sort of impact is usually not something that happens in one or two years. It was fun because I actually saw a dancer who had reached to us a few weeks ago concerned about reaching her fundraising goal. She came and met with us; we discussed a few ideas. And then a block and a half ago, I ran into her in the tent and it gave me the biggest smile because she was so proud of what she had done, and she accomplished it, not necessarily because of what we said but because she found the motivation in herself to really push herself that much further. She got into the tent and that’s what this is: It’s a big celebration of all the hard work.
LH: It’s a year of hard work and a year of education and year of awareness. It’s not, let’s take 100 step forward because that’s not sustainable. Let’s take take one step forward that’s gonna let the next people take 100 steps forward.
What's your favorite part of the 30-hour dance?
Bonus question: Are you guys sick of it yet?
JM: Oh absolutely not.
LH: We’ve been doing it since we learned what it was. We’ve been doing it like 50 times a day. You can see us in the corner just doing it.
JM: I’m waiting to find the really good discotech and pretend like I made it up. Honestly, though, it’s so much fun.
LH: It’s the best. I think it’s do great.
JM: The thing that saved the song for me, to be honest, because I was ready to be sick of the song, but this dance gives it more meaning.
LH: I honestly think it’s gonna make it dangerous because if I hear it and I’m ever driving I’m gonna start dancing and I’m not gonna be able to stop. I’ll have to control myself.