Dance Marathon Day is celebrated on March 31 every year. It’s a day when people gather at a social event to dance or walk for an extended period. There are only four rules: keep on moving; don’t sleep; spectators are encouraged, and have fun! This 24-hour event may sound exhausting, but the shared sense of community and camaraderie among dancers are highlighted. What’s more, it’s for a good cause. Dance marathons are mainly fundraising events. There’s no better way of having fun, staying fit, and supporting a good cause than participating in Dance Marathon Day.
History of Dance Marathon Day
Dance Marathon Day has long existed since the jazzy and glitzy era of the 1920s. It was an American phenomenon where dancers were put to task for their strength, endurance, and sustenance in a 24-hour movement challenge. Couples competed for a grand cash prize by continuously moving for hundreds of hours. Back then, competitors even went to great lengths as the contest lasted for a month or two. Dance marathons continued up until the 1930s as a coping mechanism for Americans during the Great Depression. People treated them as an escape and a source of fun and excitement during the direst of circumstances. But it’s not just dancers — it’s a good mix of seasoned professionals, amateurs, and marathoners participating in a round-the-clock motion competition. The popularity of these events quickly penetrated the zeitgeist of American culture and was soon celebrated in different cities such as Seattle, Wenatchee, Bellingham, and Spokane. However, this event wasn’t fancied by all. During the height of its prominence, many people considered dance marathon events disruptive, disrespectful, and even sadistic.
Despite its detractors and the controversies it attracted, the dance marathons survived the test of time and are still among the most popular American dance activities in modern times. Today, colleges and universities often conduct dance marathons as fundraising events for charities. This is due to the efforts of students dedicated to revamping this activity for a good cause. Schools like the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and Augustana College help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Dance Marathon Day timeline
Alma Cummings dances for 27 hours with six different partners, initiating dance marathons.
Seattle passes an ordinance that bans dance marathon events within city limits.
Historian Carol Martin reports that every U.S. city with 50,000 people hosts a dance marathon.
Pennsylvania State University revamps dance marathons to raise funds for children with cancer.
Dance Marathon Day FAQs
Are dance marathon donations tax-deductible?
Yes, all forms of donations are tax-deductible.
How long was the longest dance marathon?
The longest dance marathon lasted for 126 hours in Kathmandu, Nepal.
How much did Pennsylvania State University’s THON raise?
Penn State’s Dance Marathon, also known as THON, raised about $13.7 million on its 50th anniversary.
Dance Marathon Day Activities
Join as a dancer
If you’re athletic and have high stamina, dance marathons could be the twist you need to your workouts. Find the nearest dance marathon organization in your area, grab a partner, learn the rules, and you’re all set.
Be a spectator
Spectators are highly encouraged in dance marathons. Just buy a ticket to the event, support the team you are rooting for, take pictures, and post them on social media using the hashtag #DanceMarathonDay.
Donate to their supported charity
If you don’t have the time to be physically present at the event, you can always donate to their charitable causes. There’s no better way of showing your support and appreciation than to help raise funds for people in need.
5 Fun Facts About Dance Marathons
Dance marathon alternate names
Past participants were called ‘walkathons,’ ‘bunion derbies, or ‘corn and callus carnivals.’
Dancers can also rest
The competition allows 15 minutes per hour for the dancers to rest and drink water.
Medical professionals are on stand-by
Dance marathons are so rigorous that first-aid workers are on the side to help in an emergency.
Professional dance marathoners eat 12 times
For strength and endurance, promoters feed their contestants 12 meals a day.
The college domination
Today, about 250 colleges across the U.S. host their dance marathons to support charities.
Why We Love Dance Marathon Day
It’s for a good cause
Most participants are motivated to win because of charitable causes. Modern-day dance marathoners are not only sporty and competitive, but they’re also philanthropic.
It’s a great way to meet people
Dance marathons are social events participated by many people. The shared sense of community is a great way to make friends and acquaintances.
It’s good exercise
If you’re looking for a good way to amplify your cardio exercises, you can’t go wrong with a dance marathon. The constant movement can help you burn calories fast.
Dance Marathon Day dates