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10 Questions With THON 2020 Line Dance Leader Juliet Garrigan

Any THON-goer past or present knows how special the line dance is for everyone in the BJC. Not only does it serve as an opportunity to stretch out your legs and keep moving, but it’s a nice way to reflect on the past year’s events.

When it comes to Dancer Relations captains, however, the line dance is so much more. After all, the group’s spent the past several months of their life perfecting the lyrics and dance for this very weekend.

We talked with Line Dance leader Juliet Garrigan in between dances to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to lead the BJC for 46 hours.

Onward State: How’d you get involved in THON?

Juliet Garrigan: I’m actually from State College, so I grew up around THON. I knew what it was my whole life. Then my freshmen year I didn’t join a committee, but I just saw how good of an impact it had on everyone around me, and I just knew I needed to give back in my community. I went to elementary school with a couple of THON children, so I just joined DR, dancer relations, my sophomore year. I completely fell in love and have just been devoting more and more time each year.

OS: How are you involved with creating the line dance?

JG: Because I’m the dancer wellness captain, I facilitate the making of the line dance. So, pretty much we start prep the very first week that we were picked captain, which is actually just two weeks into the school year. We start going over the music, the background songs, and then basically my co-captains write potential lyrics. They submit them halfway through the year and then I compile all of that. We all go away for a weekend, lock ourselves in a basement, and basically I just help facilitate getting the job done I would say. So, I, along with 20 other people, make this line dance and make it what it is today.

OS: What’s your favorite lyric or reference?

JG: Personally, I think the Penn State verse is probably my favorite…oh, but I don’t know. Wow I’m going to say it all. I love our chorus. I think when people get loud it gives me the chills and then I think the tribute to the past four line dances is a really, really fun thing to do, especially because those people I look up to as role models. It’s really cool to show them that we still care and appreciate all of the work that they did.

OS: How do you prepare to do the line dance over and over all weekend?

JG: It’s been a lot of exercising, a lot of cardio, just taking deep breaths before I get up there. It’s, I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m beaming when I’m up there. It’s me being my best because I love how it makes other people feel so it’s not hard to get up there. I’ve only done it once, twice, so far but I’m excited to go up and do it again. You don’t even need prep, it’s just the most fun thing in the world.

OS: How long ago did you start working to learn and memorize it?

JG: It’s made the first weekend back from school for the spring semester. So syllabus weekend it’s finalized and then we work on moves throughout that whole week. Every single one of my co-captains has two hours, twice a week of line dance practice, so that’s a huge help getting to learn it, teach it to other people, other committees. We start right out the gate, when we get back, right after it’s done. So, yeah, we know it pretty well at this point. It’s engrained in our brains.

OS: Was there a line or reference you really liked that got cut?

JG: Honestly, that weekend is a bit of a blur. We stay up really really late into the night making this line dance. But we talked about doing the eight co-champs at Scripps Spelling Bee just to bring in some education stuff and talk about more things than just the fires and all that. Eventually it got booted, which was sad for me, but it’s okay. I love it still.

OS: Why do the Dancer Relations Captains always wear the number 21 on the back of their jerseys?

JG: So, there are 20 Dancer Relations Captains in total and then 21 plus our director. There’s 21 of us up on stage and we’re one big family so we write it on our backs, 21.

OS: How do you think you’ll react after you do your last line dance of the weekend?

JG: Actually, I have a timeline right here and I put in a mandatory five-minute cry with my co-captains. So, I’m sure I’ll be crying, but just like leaving a piece of history and a piece of me on that stage is going to be amazing. I can’t wait for that moment. I hope the crowd does all of the callbacks and hypes us up and just leaves a piece of themselves in the BJC that weekend.

OS: Why do you THON?

JG: This has been coming up a lot recently, but I THON because kids make the world a better place. They truly do, they just have such a unique outlook on life and how to live it and there’s no something in the future or this in the past. It’s simply just live in the present, and they absolutely deserve that more than anything. They deserve to enjoy every single moment that is beautiful childhood. I just think that the outlook that they have on life is so unique. We just need to cherish that, and take it for what it is, and try to protect it at all costs.

OS: As per OS tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?

JG: I think I’d be a pterodactyl. That’s probably a really sad answer, but yeah, I don’t know there’s something about them that always caught my eye.

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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