10 Questions With An Unofficial Dancer-In-The-Stands
Every year, 708 dancers from all walks of Penn State life take the floor of the BJC with their Dancer Relations Committee Member to dance for 46 hours straight. However, most people — especially those in larger orgs — may not get that chance. Dancing in the stands is a passion shared by all THON-goers, but a select few choose to dance for close to the entirety of the event with no breaks, just like their on-the-floor counterparts.
To get a better feel for how these brave individuals cope, but without all the resources dancers get, we spoke with Shannon Rostick of Atlas. She plans to be in the BJC for 40 of the 46 hours this weekend — no DRCM, no Hospitality, no dancer mail.
Onward State: I’m almost obligated to ask this in every interview. So, why do you THON?
Shannon Rostick: My cousin passed away from cancer — that would be my main reason. Also, my grandfather and my aunt both have cancer right now. That’s definitely a big part of why I’m here and why I chose to be so involved this weekend.
OS: Why dance in the stands nonstop?
SR: I’m always thinking about the kids going through their treatments, and they don’t get a chance to stop. It’s similar to how dancers think and to the overall purpose of the dance marathon. I feel obligated for the kids to stand. And to keep my dancers pumped the whole time.
OS: How active in your org are you?
SR: I placed in the top 50 most involved in Atlas this year, and I’m a special events captain, as well as the Littles’ Liaison. I help with the transition of new members into the organization.
OS: What was your involvement like in previous years?
SR: Last year, I was a dancer appreciations captain. I helped make signs with our dancers’ faces on them. We were kind of like unofficial moralers.
OS: So in your org, are you alone in this goal of 40+ hours?
SR: No, most of the people in Atlas and other organizations definitely stay for longer than 30 hours, and many of them for more than 40 hours.
OS: How has the support network been from family and friends once they learned you were going for so long?
SR: My parents were huge in supporting me before THON. They donated and gave me contacts that were very helpful in making more THONvelopes.
OS: So how are you going to deal without the wealth of resources the dancers have like DRCMs and the like?
SR: Lots of extra stretching and dancing. I have the luxury of being able to walk the concourse if need be. I’m going to focus on eating right this time — I didn’t do that freshman year. But I didn’t really do any pre-THON preparation. Just kinda winging it. (shrugs)
OS: Okay, some fun questions now: What’s your favorite dance move?
SR: Definitely the booty pop. Definitely.
OS: If you had to pick just one artist to listen to for 46 hours, who would it be?
SR: Miley Cyrus.
OS: So I have to ask, are you going to be wearing Crocs the entire time, or do you have a shoe rotation going?
SR: (looks down at pink and green Crocs) I started with sneakers, but I’m gonna stick with the Crocs until further notice.