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Dance marathon

Dance marathons are events in which people dance or walk to music for an extended period of time. Dance marathons, endurance movement contests, and derbies can be traced back to London in 1364. They started as dance contests in the 1920s and developed into entertainment events during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Before the development of "reality shows", dance marathons blurred the line between theatre and reality. Also known as endurance contests, dance marathons attracted people to compete as a way to achieve fame or win monetary prizes. The 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, based on the 1935 novel of the same title written by Horace McCoy, a bouncer at several such marathons, popularized the idea and prompted students at Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University, Indiana University, Ohio State University, the University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to create charity dance marathons. Marathons could last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks.

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Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement involving college and high school students at more than 250 schools across the country, all raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in their community. These students spend a year learning invaluable leadership and life skills while raising funds and interacting with children’s hospital patients and families. The year culminates with a 12-40 hour long event where the students stay on their feet through dancing, games and entertainment in celebration of the total amount raised that year. Why stay on your feet for that long? To quote the first Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Dance Marathon’s mission statement: “We dance for those who can’t.” It is this solidarity to – and connect

Contributed by Sydney Hughes

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