Dancers Explain What They Least Expected About Dancing In THON

Earlier this week, we asked your 2017 THON dancers what the most unexpected part of dancing was for them. Needless to say, there are plenty of surprises when you’re on your feet for 46 hours straight, but most of the responses we got can be boiled down to just a few responses. Here’s what happens when you dance in THON that you least expect.

The Food

This seems simple, but dancers were surprised at how good the food was. After starting the first dancer meal with pulled pork and mac ‘n’ cheese, one dancer lost count of how many peanut butter and nutella sandwiches he ate throughout the weekend. Others couldn’t believe how much food and how many snacks and drinks were available to them throughout the weekend.

The Sense of Time

Dancers were split on this, but one response sums it up best: “I truly didn’t expect THON to fly by as quickly as it did, but at the same time it felt like I had lived there my whole life and the BJC was the only world I had every known.”

The Crying

When you’re physically and emotionally exhausted, tears can start falling at any time for almost any reason. Here’s our shortlist of reasons dancers cried this weekend.

  • Dancer mail
  • Inflatable turtles
  • Picture of a dog
  • Seeing parents
  • Someone gave them a weird look
  • Makeup was messed up from crying
  • No actual reason

The Delirium

When spectators visit the floor later in the weekend, it’s all too easy to spot a dancer who’s acting like they’re drunk simply from sleep deprivation. Most dancers didn’t see this coming — some say they even blacked out during some parts of THON to the point where they’ve seen photos afterwards that they don’t remember taking.

“My depth perception started to go on me,” one dancer said. “I remember trying to hug someone and didn’t realize how close they were until their arms were around my body. My reactions were delayed to the point where someone shot me with a nerf gun but I didn’t flinch until after the dart hit me and had already fallen to the ground.”

The Support

Dancers were surprised how much support they received from their organizations and from other people on the floor. “Everyone was willing to help each other out when needed,” one dancer said. “I saw dancers giving piggy back rides to other dancers, girls helping girls put on socks while standing (WAY harder than you think!), and overall just giving each other strength to make it through the weekend.”


Not many dancers can relate to these, but they certainly happened to a select few.

  • Star Wars Hour: “I remember my friend going up to Darth Vader and using the force on him.”
  • Pep Rally: “When I experience THON in the stands, I always thought the pep rally was one of the most hype parts of THON. As a dancer, it kinda marked a low point for me since the floor gets so packed in and there isn’t a lot of room for dancers to move around.”
  • Ice Baths: “Longest three minutes of my life every time I did it (which was a lot).”
  • OPP Baby: “The moment my nephew, Owen, crawled across the floor during mopping and became the famous baby that captured the hearts of thousands. I knew he was going to be popular (How could he not with that face?) but I never imagined he’d be all over social media and have articles written about him. 14 months and on the campus for one weekend and he’s already way more popular than I’ll ever be.”

About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


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