Block 7: NU Kids on the Block


Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg junior and right guard Tommy Doles sports a “Captain America” bodysuit. The football team went on stage during Block 7 after a video from former Northwestern superback Dan Vitale.

Jane Recker and Charlotte Walsh

By Block 7, intrepid Dance Marathon participants had been dancing for 18 hours straight.

Dancer emotions were mixed as they filed back into the tent at 1 p.m. with their lunches. While some still had the same energy as when they entered the tent, others were collapsed on the ground trying to regain their strength.

Block 7 wasn’t an opportunity to rest for all though. Food committee co-chairs Sydney Rozenfeld and Stephanie Craig were responsible for coordinating the feeding of more than 1,000 hungry dancers. Rozenfeld said they worked hard this year to make sure that all dietary restrictions were met.

As the dancers finally rested their feet to eat, they were entertained by performances from the Northwestern University drumline and Graffiti Dancers. While most students remained seated, a small group of impassioned Northwestern University Marching Band members near the stage jumped up and down.

At the conclusion of the performances, Laura Cummings Muriello, executive director of the Wood Family Foundation, came out to speak about how Cradles to Crayons is an integral part of their foundation. She told the story of Brianna, a fifth-grade girl who was almost hit by gunshots intended for her brother. Muriello said Cradles to Crayons sent “kid packs” to Brianna and her family to get them through the tough time after the shooting.

“I know that this is a tough stretch … but if you’re getting a little tired right now, your feet are hurting … just think about stories like Brianna,” Muriello said. “You guys are helping them to do so much more for kids across the city, and we are so grateful for it.”

After Muriello’s speech, the dancers were told to get back on their feet. Luckily, they were cheered on with a video from former Chicago Cubs pitcher and Wood Family Foundation founder Kerry Wood congratulating the dancers and leading them into the 7th block stretch with “Take Me out to the Ballgame.”

Some special guests joined the dancers as well: Families from last year’s beneficiary, Gigi’s Playhouse. Jenness Stock, the parent of one of these tiny dancers, said she and her son, Teddy, made great friendships with the members of their team last year and were happy to be back dancing.

Students were then greeted by a video from former Northwestern superback Dan Vitale telling dancers to keep up the good work, which was followed by the football team coming onstage.

Once they concluded a tent-wide rendition of the fight song, the Cats let down their hair and whipped off their shirts by dancing to Flo Rida’s “Low” onstage.

Weinberg junior and right guard Tommy Doles led the ensemble, sporting a “Captain America” bodysuit. He said this was his fourth year cheering on the dancers, and, since coach Pat Fitzgerald was unable to make it to the tent, he was given the responsibility of leading the team.

The energy heightened when freshman offensive lineman Peter McIntyre took a dive off the stage to crowd-surf during DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What.” This started a massive mosh pit in the middle of the tent with the team at the center.

Jordan Thompson, a junior defensive tackle, said he enjoyed having the opportunity to entertain students to give them a little extra strength. The mosh pit, however, was a spur of the moment effort to pump some energy into the crowd.

“We were just gonna go up there and dance, and if we got a little weird or anything, we were just gonna go with it,” Thompson said.

The end of the block featured members of the finance committee coming onstage to update the dancers on their progress toward raising an additional $33,000 in 10 hours.

They said participants had raised $23,987 thus far, and encouraged students to reach out to their family and friends to help them achieve the final fundraising goal.

Read more of The Daily’s coverage of Dance Marathon here.

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