NBN sat down with Kaitlin Jennrich and Chris Harlow, the co-chairs of DM’s production committee, to talk about their job this weekend and what the most rewarding part of DM has been so far.
What does Productions do during DM?
Kaitlin Jennrich: Productions is responsible for putting on the 30 hours in terms of logistics. Our team spends all week in the tent leading up to DM, putting up lights and sound equipment, doing cool things to make the weekend of DM special. The weekend of, we’re running it, doing logistics for speakers and sound.
Chris Harlow: Our job is to spend months planning. During the weekend of, our team is the one working on all this.
What’s your favorite part of this job?
KJ: For me, it’s meeting a lot of people with an incredible set of skills. Productions draws a lot from the theater community, and I have learned so much from them in what we do.
CH: A lot of people think we just string up lights and stuff but there’s a lot more of a theatrical element. Technology can be used to send a message. We get to influence an experience for dancers. It’s cool we get to shape that experience, decide what groups get to go on stage and who is speaking.
Why do you do DM?
KJ: To me, Dance Marathon is a lot like Disney World. You walk into the tent and it’s almost like you’re in a different place. There’s an aura that you’re doing something that’s more than yourself. You don’t often find that in a fast-paced school like this. It’s an incredible thing to be part of.
What’s been your favorite moment so far?
KJ: This year we added a spoken word piece, everyone sat down in the tent and we slowed the music way down. This incredible poet performed an incredible piece about hunger and Dance Marathon. We’d never done this before. It was so wonderful to see everyone in the tent connecting in a quieter moment.
CH: I liked hearing Principal Cooney speak this morning. She has a similar background as me, and it’s really cool to see, of the however many people in the tent, that’s a person someone making a difference every day. I got to interview her weeks ago and see her at the school. When she was talking about Lincoln [Elementary], I could see that and I knew when she was talking there was so much realness behind what she was saying. I wish we could take all the dancers to these site visits.
How is this year’s charity different than past years?
KJ: One of the things about hunger, it’s an invisible epidemic. You look at people and you can’t tell whether they’re hungry or not. I recently learned that 35 percent of the students at my middle school qualify for Blessings in a Backpack, and I didn’t know that. I think it's different for Northwestern students not knowing a lot of people who have experienced the lack of a basic human right.
CH: It’s very tangible. We tried to use 500 cans of food, stacking them to represent the issue. It’s a lot easier to grasp this problem, what we’re working towards. Research in past years can be a bit fuzzy, but this has a one-to-one effect.
What's your favorite DM dance move?