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Dancers prepare themselves for 30-hour gala

Elizabeth Campbell

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While event planners are finalizing details for this weekend’s Dance Marathon 2005, many dancers are attempting to prepare themselves mentally and physically for the demanding weekend ahead.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time,” said Weinberg freshman Lisa Klingler. “It’s kind of hard to believe it’s here.”

The 30-hour marathon kicks off Friday night at 7 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. Sunday. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Evanston Community Foundation. Last year DM raised more than $457,000.

Many dancers are attempting to prepare for the physical exertion. Some say they are cutting down on caffeine this week and trying to get some extra sleep, despite end-of-quarter exams and projects.

Klingler said she’s been trying to stick to the “seven-hour sleep plan,” but she has three exams this week.

“It’s really difficult,” Klingler said. “I purposely studied more than I ever have ahead of time.”

Dancer Relations co-chairwoman Elena Taryor, a dancer during her freshman and sophomore years, said her partner pulled an all-nighter the day before DM. This was not a good idea, the Communication senior said.

“Sleep is so important and (also) just making sure that you are keeping healthy,” Taryor said.

Many dancers admitted feeling nervous about the intense weekend ahead of them. Although Weinberg freshman Andrea Katz said she was nervous about how she’s going to feel after 30 hours of dancing, she feels the experience will be well worth the effort.

“All the physical consequences will go away after a while, and then it’ll be just a really fun memory that I have,” Katz said.

Getting enough sleep and eating well the week of DM, along with doing some light exercise, will make the event easier for dancers, according to the Dancer Survival Guide, a packet of suggestions distributed to all dancers.

DM coordinators recommended a list of items, including a pair of socks for each block, ear plugs and deodorant, that dancers should bring to DM.

In addition to the physical task of staying awake, some dancers said they were afraid of the mental demands of the event.

Education senior Beth Gianfrancisco is excited to be participating in her fourth DM. The veteran dancer said staying inspired is the key to making it through the event.

“Find something that keeps you motivated, whether it be a person or group that you’re dancing for,” Gianfrancisco said, adding that several of her family members have diabetes. “I’m dancing for my family, my dorm and for myself.”

Dancer Relations will be a strong presence throughout DM, keeping dancers “happy, healthy and having fun,” Taryor said, describing her committee as the “Dancer Motivation Committee.”

Taryor also recommended that friends of dancers come visit, stressing that outside encouragement really makes a difference.

Anyone can purchase a button for $3 and visit dancers all weekend, Taryor said.

“Just have fun,” Taryor said. “It’s meant to be a 30-hour party to celebrate all the hard work dancers have been doing since October.”

Reach Elizabeth Campbell at e-campbell-1@northwestern.edu.

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