Dancing machines

Janette Neuwahl

Filling in for a sick friend his freshman year, Jeremy Gabe spent 30 hours falling in love with Dance Marathon, forming a bond that led him to participate in the event for all five years he has been at Northwestern.

Gabe, a fifth-year senior in McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science’s co-op program, was the only person inducted into DM’s 150-hour club Saturday night. But 20 people were honored as 120-hour club members, a tradition recognizing dancers and committee members who have spent 30 hours at DM for four years.

“The 120-hour club offers a neat way to recognize seniors and sets a good example for freshman dancers that are dancing for the first time,” said Michelle Madigan, DM co-chairwoman. “It’s a great way to put in their minds freshman year that being involved in DM all four years is an accomplishment.”

Gabe’s five years of commitment took the the award to an even higher level.

“(Dancing in DM) gives me something to look back on and be proud of, and I hope it gives inspiration to other fifth-year seniors to go out and have the same kind of experience I had,” Gabe said.

Dan Sedehi, DM dancer relations committee co-chairman, was inducted into the 120- hour club this year. Sedehi said he decided to dance for Sargent Hall his freshman year after watching a neighbor’s excitement at being an emcee.

“It was an incredible feeling and I loved my experience,” said Sedehi, a McCormick senior. “From the people involved to the fact that we could come together as a group to raise so much money for a great cause while bringing the Northwestern community together was so awesome.”

After dancing for three years, Sedehi applied to lead the dancer relations committee in the spring.

As the co-chairman, Sedehi said the honor of being inducted into the 120-hour club meant more to him as a member of the event’s executive board.

“I was proud of myself, but … I was so happy that DM went really well this year and people were having a good time,” Sedehi said.

Sedehi said he was motivated to dedicate four years to DM because of many factors, including the group’s heartwarming mission and the community feeling the event produces at NU for a weekend.

Speech senior Tricia Turner, another inductee into the 120-hour club, said a great freshman experience has drawn her back as a dancer every year.

“At the end you have the feeling that you accomplished dancing for 30 hours for a great cause – it’s a very emotional but satisfying achievement,” said Turner, who was dancing for Delta Delta Delta. “It’s been my goal ever since my first year at DM to be a four-year dancer.”

Some younger DM participants said they were inspired by the 120-hour club members and had aspirations of their own to join the exclusive group.

As a prospective student last year, Weinberg freshman Antoinette Nguyen went on a tour after DM had ended and said she noticed the enthusiasm present on campus. Nguyen promised herself she would be involved in the organization and, after dancing this year, said she would love to join the 120-hour club.

“After experiencing the event myself this year I want to be involved in some way, either through a committee or as a dancer for all of my four years here,” Nguyen said, “because when I graduate, I’ll never be able to do something like this again.”