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10 Questions With 2016 Line Dance Leader Heather Grace Thomas

Without a doubt, the line dance is one of the most important parts of THON; the catchy lyrics and stretches help keep the dancers on their feet for a full 46 hours. Likewise, the dance is always one of the biggest takeaways from the weekend (it’s impossible to not have the lyrics stuck in your head after hearing them every hour for 46 hours). Preparing, practicing, and then presenting the line dance can be one of the hardest jobs of THON. This year, Heather Grace Thomas holds that responsibility. We sat down stood up with her for a “10 Questions” to learn a little bit more about the line dance.

ONWARD STATE: What’s your role in creating the line dance?

Heather Grace Thomas: I’m a Dancer Wellness Captain for Dancer Relations, which means I’ve been coordinating it all semester. So with the help of my other captains, we have this long process from September into the first week of January where we take all the current events and stuff that we know will get people excited and moving and stretching, and we combine it into one main event — the line dance.

OS: What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen to coordinate this year’s line dance?

HGT: My reaction is actually on recording! And it’s absolutely ridiculous — I went crazy and I started bawling my eyes out just because I knew it was something I am very passionate about and I knew I could bring a lot to this position. I always look back on that video because it reminds me of every reason I want to be here.

OS: How long has the line dance been in the making? When was it finalized?

HGT: In the making, the line dance begins as soon as we get our positions, which is in September. Then during the first week in January we go on a retreat, where we collect all the information we’ve gathered over the whole semester; our ideas, our topics, the verses, all the moves — we pull them all together at the retreat.

OS: What’s your favorite lyric in this year’s line dance?

HGT: That’s such a hard question because I have two. One lyric I like that gets people excited is, “BJC, Let’s rally,” because it really brings everything together. Another lyric that’s my favorite would be, “Boundaries? Not in here,” because it sums up the whole theme and every reason that we’re here. I just love saying that one over and over again.

OS: What’s your favorite reference in the line dance?

HGT: I really like the way that we incorporated Snape, because although it’s such a sad thing, we turned it into something that everyone can look back on and remember fondly.

OS: How do you do the whole line dance without running out of breath? Do you train?

HGT: I’m a fitness instructor, and that definitely has helped. It’s not even the fitness aspect, it’s the practicing aspect. When you’re a fitness instructor, you’re cuing people left and right while also doing the moves and demonstrating. Over the past year I’ve been training for it and I think it has moved me along in this role as a Dancer Wellness Captain.

OS: How do you make it through 46 hours of doing the line dance? Can you sit down?

HGT: I do the line dance a total of 38 times, because I do have to rest a little bit. When I’m off-shift, my two second-in-commands take over.

OS: How do you think you will react to doing your last line dance?

HGT: I may cry my eyes out, first of all. But I think it will be a really powerful and moving experience and I’m really looking forward to it. Although I don’t want it to come to an end, I know it will be the most amazing moment of my life.

OS: If you were a dinosaur, which would you be and why?

HGT: Well I’m not very educated on dinosaurs so I’m just going to say T. Rex, because they seem to be the most popular and fun.

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About the Author

Katie Klodowski

Katie is a senior from Pittsburgh, PA and a retired editor at Onward State. Currently, she works as a staff writer. True to her hometown, she is a fan of Steel City sports but also uses her ballet and music training to be a tough critic of all things artsy. The fastest ways to her heart are through pizza, sushi, and a solid taste in music (this means no Taylor Swift). To be constantly razzle-dazzled, follow her on all social media forms at @KatieKlodowski

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