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Students boogie down for charity at Dance Marathon

Some strutted. Others stepped. Still, others boogied to the music. Whatever it's called, 184 students danced from noon Feb. 26 until noon Feb. 27 at Memorial Gym. The event, Dance Marathon 2000, raised $25,247.88 for the Sarah Du Bose Fund.

On Feb. 2, 1994, Sarah Du Bose was born 14 weeks early, weighing less than three pounds. Her parents created the fund that bears her name to aid families of premature babies who face the same struggle they faced during those months and years following Sarah's birth.

Sally Du Bose, Sarah's mother, said the most recent results of Dance Marathon's lent support in buying blankets to cover the incubators in the University Hospital's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit and awarding scholarships to send nurses to specialized seminars on the issue.

Thinking about this cause inspired first-year College student Niko Schutte to dance his way to the end of the marathon.

"I love to dance first of all, and the fact we're doing it for kids was all I needed," Schutte said.

Schutte sported a Hawaiian shirt with purple and white-striped pants. His Adidas dancing shoes, an appropriate orange and blue, carried him through many renditions of his favorite move, "the running man."

But Schutte had more than just his dancing shoes to help him through the evening. He observed a great camaraderie between dancers.

"Everyone encourages each other - even people you don't know," Schutte said.

Schutte and others had a variety of music to keep their feet moving.

When asked about his favorites he said he liked "anything, as long as you can dance to it - and if you can't you find a way."

He did however admit to enjoying the "Boy Band Hour," which featured the Backstreet Boys, and, as the Dance Marathon Web page states, "all those bands that sound the same yet preteen girls insist there are differences."

A different musical theme occupied each hour, including "Love in the 80s Hour," "70s Disco Hour," "Middle School Dance Hour" and an "A cappella Hour."

First-year College student Steven Reinemund, who was in charge of corporate sponsorship on the Dance Marathon Accounting Committee, said the event raised $4,000 through corporate sponsorship this year. He said he "fully expects it to be up to $25,000 within two years."

The remainder of the $25,247.88 was raised through personal donations and pledges. Each dancer had to raise a minimum of $50. The most collected by a single individual was $700, by first-year College student Ranmali Bopitiya. Humphreys and Maupin Houses topped the list for the biggest group donations.

High points during the night included a human V formed during a cheering contest between University participants and some James Madison University students who were in town for the event. This was one of the few breaks the dancers took during the night. Similar reprieves were granted for a game of duck-duck-goose and red light-green light.

Dancers were not required to continue kicking-it on their way to and from the lavatory. But dancing the night away still was no easy task.

"Towards the end, everyone's feet were numb - a lot of people's whole bodies were numb," Reinemund said.

Most agreed with second-year College student Trisha Morrow, who said the highlight of the evening came when dancers were able to meet the families they were helping.

"The best part of the whole Dance Marathon was family hour. It was very moving and inspiring," Morrow said.

Family hour took place at 10 a.m. Sunday, just two hours before the finale. This was a chance for the dancers to meet the families they were dancing for, and even dance with the children.

"We're still shocked," Du Bose said. "We're just so touched by [the students]. They are so special. Their work and their money is making such a difference"