Over 1,000 dancers breathed a collective sigh of relief when Dance Marathon hit Block 4, and the music paused for bit of spoken word.
The dancers sat, snacking on clementines and apples like sweaty, poorly-dressed fifth graders at a school assembly, not knowing what was coming.
Communication sophomore Pauline Moll delivered, bringing the tired college students back to their youth in a spoken word performance that traced her own fundraising to a single eighth grade teacher's class. The teacher lectured each day on the struggles the less fortunate have, she said, instilling in her the need to serve others.
"I had known about institutional racism and sexism and ablism, and children going hungry for years beforehand, but only peripherally," Moll said. "I had never looked injustice in the eye, or never tried."
She compared the influence of Dance Marathon to a metaphor her teacher gave her: dropping pebbles into a pond. Feeding children through Blessings in a Backpack doesn't end hunger, but it helps make a dent into a larger problem and may influence others to help as well, she said.
"If you go out and live your life well, you drop a pebble into the pond, disturb the surface of the water and say I am not OK with complacency," Moll said.
Moll's cadences captivated the students, many of whom said it helped them reflect on the larger purpose of Dance Marathon. DM planners try to make Block 4 sentimental, but the spoken word performance was a first.
"It was kind of cheesy, but I enjoy that sort of stuff," McCormick junior Daniel Kinch said. "The idea of the ripple effect really stuck with me as a good metaphor for what we're trying to do here."
Provoking deep thought was Moll's objective. A dancer last year, she said in an interview afterwards that dancers can often tire and forget why they're here.
”There’s so much hype that it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason why were doing it," Moll said. "It’s useful to remember in the middle of it to push you through the 30 hours.”