February 15, 2011

Country singer John Rich kicks off Dance Marathon at Vanderbilt University

dance marathon logoStudents dance all night to benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Country music artist John Rich will kick off Vanderbilt University’s Dance Marathon, an annual event where students dance all night to benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Friday, Feb. 18, at the Student Recreation Center.

Dance Marathon will last 13.1 hours – a “half marathon” that begins at 7 p.m. on Friday and ends at 8:06 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19.

Rich will be on hand for the event’s opening ceremony, performing his hit song, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” and he will provide a matching gift of up to $10,000 to the top student fundraiser.

A portion of the donations from the event will help fund a new endowment to support the most critical needs of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The remaining proceeds will benefit the Craniofacial Treatment Center at the Children’s Hospital, which provides life-changing treatment for children with congenital and acquired deformities of the skull, face and jaw.

Dance Marathon is open to the public and will feature performances by Vanderbilt student groups and Children’s Hospital patients. Vanderbilt student groups participating in the event include the Spirit of Gold Danceline, the university’s official dance team; Juggleville, a juggling and physical arts club; VIBE, a hip-hop dance troupe; Spoken Word, a poetry/hip-hop group; the Swingin’ Dores, a female a capella group, and the Dodecaphonics and the Melodores, two male a capella groups.

To help keep the energy going throughout the night, students are going to attempt to break the world record for chest-bumping, do 13 “morale dances,” and turn the lights down for an hour for a “Glow Rave.” Instructors will also teach Zumba and line dancing classes during one hour.

Cover band Groove Addiction and hypnotist Gabriel Holmes will perform, as well as two dueling piano players from Nashville’s Big Bang.

Admission for Dance Marathon is $10 per person and free for children 5 and under. Activities for kids will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. and include face painting, giant Twister, caricatures, a balloon artist and a bounce house.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet the families of Children’s Hospital patients and hear their stories.

Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropic organization at Vanderbilt University.  Now in its ninth year, it has raised over $900,000 for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Each February more than 1,100 students, faculty and guests come together for the legendary “half-marathon.” They spend hours awake and on their feet to raise awareness and funds for kids whose lives have been impacted by Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network.