The Best Dancer Advice From Former THON Dancers
In less than a week, THON 2023 will be in full swing at the Bryce Jordan Center. Thousands of students will gather together to work towards one common goal: raising money for pediatric cancer.
With 707 students preparing to dance for 46 hours, we enlisted the help of some former THON dancers to share their best pieces of advice for the weekend.
Kristen – 2016 Dancer
“It’s honestly so much a mind-over-matter event. I tried to keep myself in the moment as much as I possibly could, and it helped. When you can focus on enjoying the experience more than how tired or in pain you are, it makes it so much better.
Keep moving around and stretching, too! Dancing in THON was the greatest experience and there was nothing better than knowing how much money we raised as a community for the kids who need it.”
Madison – 2022 Dancer
“Take care of each other, but make sure you take care of yourself, too. Make sure you’re constantly drinking water and eating at every meal. Take time to be alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Most importantly, remember every single second because by the end of it, you might be so exhausted and ready to go home, but you’ll wake the next morning feeling as if the time FLEW by.”
Josh – 2020 Dancer
“Give yourself small chores like washing your face or brushing your teeth every few hours. You won’t know what time it is, so when you get tired use those small ‘chores’ to keep you moving and occupied.”
Lily – 2019 Dancer
“Take photos and videos! You’ll want to remember this weekend forever! And do not be afraid to ask your DRCM for help! They are there to make sure you’re okay for the entire 46 hours. So if you feel like you are hitting a wall, tell them!”
Bess – 2002 Dancer
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I know you want to go hard at the beginning, but it will not help you in the long run. Good luck and thank you from a former Four Diamonds child!”
Sean – 2014 Dancer
“This advice is particularly for those few and mighty independent dancers. Before you start, make some close friends in the events leading up to THON with other dancers. Fraternities, sororities, and big org groups have so many dancers. They have dedicated sections of supporters in the stands at all hours of the day. It can be much tougher for independent dancers. So make friends as best you can because you’ll see the same 700 folks on the floor. It only benefits you to have some extra support.
Also, make sure to take advantage of services that come around. We had members of the powerlifting team give us dancers piggyback rides.
Lastly, have a plan for post-THON. Back in the day, they required a friend to ‘sign you out’ and drive you home. But have a plan for when you return to your apartment/house/dorm. Have hot food ready or leftovers easy to heat up. The last thing you need is to come home and have to cook yourself dinner. Also, forget about Monday classes, I slept 17 hours straight from Sunday evening to Monday afternoon. Give yourself the grace of time.”
Brooke – 2020 Dancer
“Make sure you drink two bottles of water for every Gatorade. Put off drinking Gatorade for a while, and the sugar will be a nice pick me up.”
Eric – 2020 Dancer
“Take an hour and read the poster wall in the back. You’ll find another reason with each poster to keep going. Avoid taking your Tylenol, changing shoes, and getting an ice bath or feet wrapped as long as you can as that short period of relief will make you feel worse about two hours later. Also, constantly change your socks!”
Marlene – 1991 Dancer
“Get overly jazzed and psyched about the group dance. Also, Sunday pre-dawn is the longest. Focus on the kids.”
Paul – 2015 Dancer
“Strong supportive shoes are a must. I used two pairs of shoes that I alternated throughout the weekend. My go-to pairs were Brooks and ASICS.
Work with your partner or partners. They may need you at times and, eventually, you may need them, whether it’s keeping each other sane or just being in each other’s company.
Most importantly, don’t stop moving… especially when there are big events on the stage like the pep rally or family hour. If you do want to stand and watch the stuff on stage, at least do some stretches or something to keep your legs moving. Pain can sometimes set in if you stand still for too long.”
Kayla – 2019 Dancer
“I definitely recommend bringing headphones (over the ear for long-term wear and comfort). The music can get old and you will want your own music to get in the zone and push through!”
Editor’s note: Some responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.
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