A pair of Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers have proved that dancing in THON does not require being on the floor the whole time.
Seniors Alex Buckley and Matthew Costantino were the dancers set to represent DKE in THON 2014, but the fraternity’s pre-THON suspension meant dancer privileges were put in limbo. Though DKE came off suspension the night before THON, it was too late for them to dance at that point due to a lack of preparation to accommodate them, THON Public Relations Director Dana Giacobello explained.
Dancing held personal connections for the two: Buckley is the son of Dr. Barbara Ostrov, Hershey Medical Center’s pediatrician-in-chief, and Costantino is the brother of a former dancer. Disappointed but not deterred, they decided they’d still attend THON and stand for its 46 hours.
So, in section 107 they stood, while 707 others did the same on the Bryce Jordan Center’s floor.
“I think we talked about it early in the week, that it was unlikely we’d be able to officially dance,” Buckley said. “And so we had to decide what the official course of action was. Thinking about our three families and how much it would mean to them for us to be there, the best way to support them was to be there all 46 hours.”
The ramifications of doing so: No slides of strength, no Hospitality or Morale benefits, no room to walk around, being privy to the time of day, and no frequent stimulation to help them get through their 46 hours.
A solid support system was crucial. DKE brothers brought food from downtown so they wouldn’t have to “eat fried food the entire time,” Costantino said. Chapter President Andrew Garwood said the fraternity tasked itself with being their moralers once they figured dancing on the floor would not happen. Some brothers stayed for either the whole time or the majority of it with them.
“We coordinated ways to help,” Garwood said. “Anyone who was outside of the BJC and coming back [to THON]would text them and ask what they needed and people would bring them whatever they asked for.”
Popular downtown nourishment included McLanahan’s subs and Chinese food. Of course, Subway was popular since it’s already set up in the BJC; Garwood estimated Costantino had four of its sandwiches.
When THON began, Buckley and Costantino were actually on the floor, as they utilized their organization’s passes for its beginning. They stood with the other dancers for about three hours and learned the line dance on the floor, before heading to the stands. Buckley would remain there, while Costantino returned to the floor for the final four hours using their one pass. It was an easy decision between the two – Costantino’s girlfriend was dancing for partner sorority Sigma Alpha.
Buckley and Costantino tried to remain unaware of the time, an impossible task. They overheard their friends mentioning what time they would leave and return to the BJC and caught glimpses of people’s phones. One of the only ways the dancers could roam was by doing laps around the BJC concourse, which meant Rules and Regulations members informed them of the time when they left the stands. Of course, they also evaluated daylight when they went to the concourse. Buckley estimated he was made aware of the time on 10 to 15 different occasions during THON.
Though knowing the time was another burden, Costantino reckoned the official dancers have a good idea of the time because of THON staples like the Pep Rally on Saturday night.
“It was just too hard [to be unaware of the time],” Costantino said. “After about 10 or 12 hours, I just changed my time back and I knew it the rest of the way.”
Ostrov was another of the dancers’ helpers. She resided in the Four Diamond Fund’s suite for THON, right across from the DKE/SA section.
“Being a physician, but more importantly a mother, I was concerned they might get dehydrated and not have enough protein and carbohydrates to keep going,” Ostrov said about their alternative dancing methods.
The suite came in handy. The high tables dancers can lean on during THON were also not available to the DKE dancers, but they could relieve some of the weight on their feet in the suite. They also had nowhere else to store their belongings, so the suite housed their bags.
Perhaps the sweetest of the suite’s benefits was Charles Millard’s presence. Buckley and Costantino got to meet Millard, the Four Diamonds Fund founder, one of the few things they got to do that other dancers don’t get unless they run into him on the floor.
Those were nice facets of their experience. But wasn’t it even harder to get through THON through the added stress that came with standing for so long directly in front of seats? Buckley and Costantino chuckled at the thought.
“That actually never even crossed my mind,” Costantino said. “Those chairs were more of a massage system for me. I don’t know how it didn’t cross my mind.”
They agreed that THON’s most difficult stretch to weather was in between the Pep Rally’s finish and the final four hours’ beginning. Costantino considered leaving once or twice, but credited the support of DKE and SA for his resilience. And by THON’s end, the DKE dancers were as drained as their 707 counterparts. Costantino fell asleep “almost instantly” on the ride home. He ordered Wings Over and fell asleep waiting for it to deliver. Buckley didn’t crash immediately after THON, instead cruising in delirium for a while. He noted he was alert for all of THON, but got loopy upon its finish. He has no Monday classes, so no harm done. Costantino does.
“I even made my 10:10 racquetball class the next day,” he said with a fist pump.
Both dancers called the final four hours their favorite parts. They said they’ve been talking about THON ever since, as one might imagine.
Reflecting, Costantino said they will remember THON 2014 as one in which they danced, regardless of where they did it.
“If what we did wasn’t dancing,” Buckley said, “I don’t know what is.”