:: Elonthon 2007- Will you be a hero?
Elonthon 2007 was going strong as I entered Alumni Gym just after midnight. With Dance Dance Revolution and ping-pong on the right and a giant ‘Rock ‘em Sock ‘em’ inflatable toy on the left, there was no excuse to be sitting down.
Elonthon is a 24 hour dance-a-thon which benefits the Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. With the help of Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that helps sponsor events to raise funds and awareness for children’s hospitals, Elonthon raises money to help families pay the hospital bills incurred during their child’s treatments. Dancers give a list of at least ten people’s names and addresses, and Elonthon committees send out letters asking for donations to sponsor the dancer. Kids and their families from Duke Children’s Hospital are invited to the event, and every hour a different child’s story is told on stage. The kids’ stories are “inspirational as a dancer,” says junior Laura Eastes. Classrooms in Koury are converted into temporary family rooms filled with books and toys, as well as providing a quiet place to sleep. Food is donated by Cici’s Pizza and Sal’s, and other sponsors include Wal-mart and Paradise Printers. Lunch on Saturday was provided by Moe’s Southwestern Grill.
This year’s event was held April 14-15, and had 1160 participants (up from last year’s 800), with about 85% of the dancers from Greek affiliations and the rest individuals or small groups. The 2007 theme was ‘HERO’, which was displayed on everyone’s t-shirts. Every two hours the theme focused on a different way heroes are present in our everyday lives; for example at the pool or beach, a lifeguard can be a hero. Other activities included basketball, volleyball, coloring, and of course, dancing. A surprise this year was the laser light show. Performances by Sweet Sigs, Twisted Measure, Rip Chord, and Elon’s Finest contributed to the dance music for the event.
The biggest question is how dancers find the motivation to stay on their feet for 24 hours. Even though the prospect might be tempting, veteran dancer Alison Billings cautions, “Don’t sit down!” For the second year in a row, Elonthon has let organizations with more than 50% participation dance in six hour shifts. These shifts boost the number of dancers, as well as help increase the morale of the 24 hour participants. About 250 people danced for 24 hours. Most veteran dancers said you have to just be prepared, and bring your friends. Executive Committee member Charissa Evans wished for an “extra pair of knees!” Head of the Internal Marketing Committee, Jeff Calluso, suggests that you “recruit a girlfriend,” or find one of those touchy-feeling people that will be willing to come give you a massage. Every hour a few more moves were added onto the morale dance, an ongoing choreographed dance to keep people motivated. Nicole Veater, a freshman dancer who was busy making sure nobody broke an arm on the ‘Rock ‘em Sock ‘em’, reminds everyone of the real purpose of Elonthon, “For the kids!”
For next year, Elonthon’s goals include recruiting more individual and small group dancers, as well as increasing the number of male dancers.
Congratulations to the Executive staff and all of the dancers for pulling off a fantastic Elonthon 2007!!! For further information, please view the organization’s website at: http://org.elon.edu/elonthon/ . Be sure to look for the upcoming announcement about Elonthon at college coffee, where the final total money fundraised will be revealed and there will be a special performance of the morale dance.
Reporter: Cindy Lefferts - 04/19/07