Calvin hosts its first-ever dance marathon


Photo courtesy Calvin Dance Marathon on Facebook.

It may take two to tango, but it takes a whole campus to make a dance marathon happen.

This year marks Calvin’s first dance marathon, a movement with students at more than 300 schools raising money for kids at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The proceeds fund over 20 programs at the hospital that aren’t covered by insurance, such as child life specialists, music therapy and art therapy.

In total, the participating dancers raised $10,259.52.

The success of the event hinged on the efforts of freshman Claire Murashima and the five people on her committee who have been working since the fall to make it happen.  This committee is comprised of Karisa Vander Weele, Anna Piazza, Delia Mapes, Katherine Niska and Megan Aardema.

Murashima’s interests in dance marathons began in high school when she and her best friend, Consuelo Mendoza, started their school’s first dance marathon. After seeing the joy and good work from East Chapel Hill’s dance marathon, Murashima was determined to bring it to Calvin as well.

However, Murashima quickly learned that starting a dance marathon at Calvin proved more difficult than at her high school. Murashima recalled, “In high school, I just told our student body president about it and she was like, ‘Yeah, cool! Let’s do it!’ and here it was kind of like a rollercoaster.”

Murashima set out with an initial step-by-step plan: get student senate on board, speak with Spectrum Health about necessary dance marathon materials, find a student committee and coordinate with Calvin about the marathon specifics.The initial interest meeting left her disheartened, garnering only two individuals.

Thanks to her committee and last minute sign-ups for the Calvin Dance Marathon, the event fell into place. Their hard work coordinating with Spectrum Health, organizing fundraisers, publicizing the event, raising money and arranging activities came to completion on April 7. They watched students gobble up goodies, meet Miracle families (families with children who’ve spent time at the DeVos Children’s Hospital), create cards, attend acts by Improv, Annex Voices and a local hip hop crew, and end the event dancing the night away.

Although Murashima admitted the endeavor was exhausting, she also said she would gladly do it again:

“Our motto is, ‘For the Kids,’ and our slogan is, ‘One day we’ll stand in celebration, until then we dance for a cure.’ I feel like seeing people get passionate about that and embody that has been so cool.”

Calvin Dance Marathon’s publicity coordinator, Anna Piazza said, “There are very few opportunities in life where you can join with a bunch of people you don’t know for a common cause. I always encourage people to be a part of this because it helps you step outside of your own world and care about those around you.”