The 2009 Dance Marathon will be held held in a climate-controlled tent on the East Lawn of Norris, committee members announced Thursday.
DM Executive Co-Chairs Elizabeth Banks and Philip Reich said they wanted to make sure that more than 1,000 dancers could dance in the same area, unlike last year when about 750 registered dancers were split between the Louis Room in Norris University Center and a heated tent outside of the building.
“From all the feedback we got from last year, everybody said, ‘Yeah, we had such a good time, but that last block with everybody together is the best,’” Reich said. “Just having everybody together, feeling the unity is just such a powerful thing and it’s really important to a lot of the dancers.”
Dance Marathon settled for a tent after considering other options.
“We looked at some of the athletic facilities, and they were great to us, but unfortunately the NCAA sets the schedules for the teams and so they couldn’t guarantee us that the space would always be available,” Banks said.
Reich added that Dance Marathon was looking for a more long-term solution.
“Besides looking for a space altogether, we wanted to look for a permanent solution, we wanted to try and look for something that could sustain some more growth if we have more growth, and really be able to be a new home for Dance Marathon,” he said.
Banks noted that having a brand new venue would not necessarily mean higher costs for DM.
“Last year we did have to spread costs between the two places,” she said. “This will be easier because we don’t need two sets of lights, so even though the tent is bigger, it’s sort of offset by other ways we’re trying to save money.”
She also added that many vendors, including the one selling them the tent, gave DM significant discounts.
The location of the tent also held a particular significance for Dance Marathon.
“One of the reasons why we wanted to put the tent near Norris is because the Norris office has been incredible to us,” Banks said. “They’ve worked with us for 30 years, and they’ve given us more support than anything we could have asked for.”
For Banks, the new venue, coupled with this year’s new emcees, marked “the beginning of a new chapter” for Dance Marathon. Reich agreed.
“We’re really excited to bring Dance Marathon back to being one of the most unifying events on campus,” Reich said. “It’s something that everybody looks forward to every year and really brings the whole campus together, so we’re excited to be able to provide that again for all the dancers and the community.”