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The Best Dancer Advice From Former THON Dancers

The big day is finally here! THON 2024 is just hours away, and pretty soon, the Bryce Jordan Center will be packed with thousands of students eager to take the weekend head-on.

With 708 students eagerly prepping for 46 hours of no sitting and no sleeping, we asked former dancers to share the best advice they have to encourage and guide the THON 2024 dancers.

Here are some of the best advice from former dancers:

KC — 2020 Dancer

“Wait in line for the ice baths!! Waiting in line for anything during THON is terrible, but the ice bath was a lifesaver for the final six hours. My feet felt brand new, and it woke me up for the rest of THON.”

Matt — 2018 Dancer

“Eat plenty of PB&Js. These were a lifesaver for me — any time I needed a pick-me-up or did not want the meal — these brought me back.

Wait as long as you can to take an ice bath and get your ankles taped — the extra wait is worth it in the end. Bring a pair of flip-flops or sandals — you HAVE to let the dogs breathe eventually but wait up as long as possible. You will want the support from shoes. I wore slides during the Final Four, and it was incredible. Game changer.

Take it all in, and every second of it. The memories you create For The Kids (and the memories you make yourself) will last a lifetime. THON Weekend is all about supporting the kids and their families. They will be there to lift you up when you need it most. Be sure to give them time during the weekend. The kids will never, ever forget the magic that is this weekend.”

Christine — 1987 Dancer

“Enjoy every second! You will make such wonderful memories with your fellow Penn Staters. Make sure to look each child and their families in the eyes to see how grateful they are for your participation to help cure childhood cancer.

Saturday night will be the hardest time but push through! You’re doing this for the children and their loved ones. You got this!”

Alexa O’Connor — 2023

“1. You’ll want to remember every single moment, so bring a journal to write down your experiences throughout the weekend. Write about your emotions, funny jokes, the highs and the lows, etc. You will always look back on the weekend and wish to experience every single second of it again.

2. Some dancers choose to use the bathroom as a break from standing, but I recommend not doing that. When you go to use the bathroom, you need to tell yourself you’re going to sit down, do your business, and immediately stand up when you’re done. If you sit for too long, you’ll feel the pain of standing 10x more than you did before!!

3. The floor is 25x more overwhelming than the stands. There will be a lot of moments when you’ll feel overstimulated and not having one second to yourself for 46 hours can really take a toll on you. I know everyone says to bring headphones, but noise-cancelling headphones are a MUST. Your AirPods will not cut it. Don’t worry about pleasing your guests on the floor during these moments. Put on the headphones and take some time to do something that will calm your mind down. Mindset is everything during the weekend!!

This will be the best weekend of your time at Penn State. Don’t take a single moment for granted, soak it all in, and rely on the love you feel from everyone in the BJC to push through For The Kids!!”

Julia — 2016 Dancer

“Use all the amenities offered: get your hair washed, get a massage, go to the trainer, etc. Cherish your time and remember why you’re there. It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.”

Rachel — 2022 Dancer

“Remember, if you find yourself disappointed that you’re not having the most fun all the time, you are not dancing to have fun but to be the voice and represent children who have struggled and fought for their lives. If they can be brave and see the good, so can you!”

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your tips, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @evan.halfen or email: [email protected]

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