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Dance like no one’s watching

Dance parties can be quite the social event. Add neon lights and glow sticks to the mix, and you’ve got Dancefest.

On Thursday night, Sept. 17, the Hispanic Cultural Center and the University Recreation Center hosted Dancefest in the Memorial Health Building, a dance party filled with disco lights, free glow sticks in varying sizes, and songs blaring throughout the night.

Lauren Wilkinson, Assistant Director of University recreation on campus, said they had done this event in the past, but a little differently.

“We had a Dancefest last spring,” Wilkinson said. “The last one was more of a series of 20 minute dance style classes, and it was mostly community based.”

This time around, they wanted to focus more on the students.

Wilkinson said the event was disguised exercise for the attendees, not just a social gathering.

“Everything we do is for the students, so why not partner with other organizations on campus? It keeps us busy,” Wilkinson said. “We’re looking for something fun, something different. We wanted to help with Dance Marathon.”

Dance Marathon is an event sponsored by Student Life and Engagement, and is held as a fundraiser for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.

“We’re not directly involved, really,” Wilkinson said. “Participants form teams and dance all night, and all the proceeds go to the hospital. It’s a very successful fundraiser.”

Each team is required to raise around $150 while remaining on the dance floor for as long as possible.

Dance Marathon was held on Friday, Oct. 2, and included more than just dancing, including a real-life version of Pac-man, among other activities.

Participants had to pay a $15 entry fee to participate and were dancing almost non-stop throughout the night. “Despite there not being a lot of people here, I really got into it,” said freshman biology major Zadonquez Newton. “Everything in general was great, and the free food didn’t hurt, either.”

At the end of the event, Student Life and Engagement, who hosted Dance Marathon, revealed the results of the fundraising: $10,633.73, all going towards Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, mainly the location at Vanderbilt.

“I really enjoy them,” Wilkinson said. “I’ll do anything to promote a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t have to be inside of a gym, either.”

University Recreation hosts many activities beyond Dancefest. Many of which are designed to bring awareness to disabilities.

“We do things like blind yoga, which is like regular yoga, but you wear a blindfold, which changes how you experience it,” Wilkinson said. “We also have treadmills in the water.”

Other events hosted by University Recreation include the annual Breast Cancer Awareness 5k, which will be held on April 1. There is a $25 fee to register for the event through March 31, and $30 for day-of registration. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the American Cancer Society.

“We want to keep everyone involved,” Wilkinson said. “I wish I had gotten more involved on campus when I went to school. If there’s anything you want to do, we’ve got something for you here.”

About Courtney Gaither

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