Ithaca College Students, Cornell Students, Ithacans a nearby residents gathered Friday afternoon at Helen Newman Hall to participate in a 24 hour dance-a-thon in support of the American Red Cross. The event began Friday at 8:00 PM and ended Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
“You had to raise a minimum of 50 dollars, and that was your sponsorship,” said Melissa Crespo, student at Ithaca College, describing requirements for participating in the dance-a-thon. “Then you dance[d] for 24 hours, no sitting, no sleeping and all the money went to all the services in the Tompkins County area, like disaster services, homeless shelters,” Crespo said.
“We started out with 50 dancers and raised 15,000 dollars,” said Simona Fino, public support and event specialist at the Red Cross and organizer of the event.
The event was also supported by donations from corporate sponsors.
“We went out and looked at companies and asked if they would like to be a part of it, so they donated anywhere from 100 bucks to 5000 dollars,” said Fino.
The dance-a-thon consisted of male and female participants as well as two professional dance-instructors from the Maya Dance and Yoga Studio in Syracuse. Both instructors, Trina Creighton and Chelle Jozefczyk, lead the participants in several dances and taught participants simple dance moves.
“It was great, everyone was so open-minded they wanted to get right up and dance with us,” said Jozefczyk.
“I agree, I appreciated [the participants’] open-mindedness to the dance and getting up there and really just having fun with it because that’s what it’s all about,” said Creighton.
Other participants felt only slightly differently about the dance.
“We had a little rough time at about five to seven am, a little cranky and it was early in the morning,” said Fino, who in addition to organizing the event participated in it. “People had been up all night but then the energy level just suddenly lifted at about seven am, it probably had a lot to do with breakfast arriving,” Fino said.
Breakfast, coffee, lunch, and water were donated by the various supporters of the dance-a-thon.
The idea for the dance-a-thon was derived from a similar event that occurs annually at Penn State.
“We were wondering if we could beat the Guinness world book of records for dancing . . . and I came across Thon, which is just a huge dance-a-thon, 48 hours at Penn State, they raise about 3.5 million dollars a year, every year,” said Fino. “So I did a lot of research with them and then modeled this dance-a-thon after Thon,” Fino said.
Non-dancers also participated in the event and helped make the event possible in the basket ball courts of Helen Newman Hall.
“We’re volunteering for the dance-a-thon, we’re not actually dancing participants, but we’ve been assisting, we’ve been motivating, were called morales,” said Jessica Ravikoff ’05, a volunteer at the event.
We bring them motivation and water and food and we make sure everything is okay,” said Ali Weiss ’05, a “morale” for the event. “We also make sure that if anyone wants to join in we pull them in and make sure no one comes and plays basketball . . . so we’re on security watch,” said Weiss.
The dance-a-thon continued until 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and brought together “a mini community here in Helen Newman,” said Ravikoff.
Archived article by David Andrade