PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



The Anatomy Of THON’s Line Dance

THON wouldn’t be THON without those famous five words shaking the BJC every so often.

But for “morale captains, to the stage!” to work, it takes work. Dancer Wellness Coordinator Maria Warchola is this year’s Morale Captain in charge of the line dance. Morale begins working on creating the line dance shortly after committees are decided, and from there, it’s a grind.

Morale captains narrow down a large list of songs during every meeting they have in the fall semester, eventually getting it down to 10 or so. They begin considering topics toward the end of the fall semester.

“We keep a big Google Doc and keep updating it on topics, PSU, pop culture, news and THON stuff,” Warchola said.

Then, everything comes together during a weekend in January, usually the first after winter break, where the Morale Captains formulate the dance’s couplets and lyrics. The Moralers practice until they have it memorized, then they teach the executive committee, and eventually the committee members.

It’s easier said than done, as any dancer will tell you. So what’s the best way to learn how to do it?

“I would say the first step was listening to the lyrics,” Warchola said. “Once you get the lyrics down, the rest kind of follows it. I’d say it takes a couple of weeks.”

While the line dance gives each THON a distinct mark, it’s also got a different pragmatic purpose – stretching. The stretches focus on the back, neck, arms and feet, and the dance’s creators are careful that there aren’t too many stretches of the same body part in close proximity. Warchola has to stay fresh, too, so a pair of other captains replace her as the dancer’s leader occasionally.

While some think the dance is played on the hour every hour, that’s not the case. The captains plan when to go to the stage(!) based off THON’s overall schedule so that it turns out to be quite random. Sometimes, there will only be 25 minutes between dances; other times, 75 minutes.

The captains are conscious of dance difficulty, too.

“It should definitely not be too hard,” Warchola said. “It should be something they can at least follow along with. It should be a challenge so they can get better and better until the end.”

Warchola had trouble picking her favorite part of this year’s dance, but was partial to the second verse (which contains popular line “SHUT DOWN FOR WHAT?”). THON 2013 Morale Captain Robbie Mitchell agreed.

As for the best line dance ever, different dancers will say different things. Warchola said her golden standard is THON 2011’s (“BOOM! Now shake those stands!”) because it was her freshman year dance, but Mitchell decided not to pick one because he was biased toward 2013’s.

Regardless, all line dances have a long creation process in common.

“It’s a lot harder than it seems,” Mitchell said. “It takes a lot of work and I have so much respect for any line dance coordinator.

About the Author

Tim Gilbert

Former Managing Editor of this site, now just makes lots of #content for it from the Phyrst’s Table 69. Senior from Philadelphia. First-generation Penn Stater. I might go to law school after this, but I might not, too. “For the Glory” is in my email signature because I’m a douche. [email protected] is my email if you want to tell me why I suck. Alternatively, you can call me out on Twitter @OlGilb.


More by Tim

Penn State’s New Academic Mark Is Just Awful

My brain is not able to understand how a team of people supposedly proficient in this industry gathered, looked at this new mark, and said, “Yes, this will do!”

Penn State Hoops To Host DePaul In Inaugural Gavitt Tipoff

James Franklin To Throw First Pitch At Yankee Stadium On April 28


Longtime Lady Lions Coach Rene Portland Dies Of Cancer

Portland brought Penn State women’s basketball to national prominence during her 27-year coaching tenure.

Penn State Hoops Gets Iced Up For NIT Title

Reports: Tony Carr To Begin Professional Career In Italy

Penn State Hockey’s Aarne Talvitie Showcases At Devils Development Camp

Penn State Hoops Releases 2018-19 Non-Conference Schedule

Student Life

Penn State Student Dies Of Allergic Reaction To Peanuts

Max McGlinchey had just finished his freshman year studying finance.

Freshman 101: On-Campus Life

Student Farm To Commemorate Summer Solstice With Second Annual Celebration

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

‘Rathskeller’ Name Subject Of Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

The complaint cites that the business has been sold throughout the years and is not tied to that specific location.

Finance Committee Recommends Tuition Freeze For In-State Undergraduate Students

If it is approved by a full-Board vote Friday, the committee’s budget plan will freeze in-state undergraduate tuition for the first time since 2015.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn State Hoops Gets Iced Up For NIT Title

A banner raising ceremony will commemorate the achievement prior to the team’s season opener on November 9 against North Florida.

Send this to a friend