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Adagio and Brandeis Pluralism Alliance team up for Dance Marathon

By Emma Kahn

Section: Arts

January 30, 2015

On Sunday, Jan. 25, students gathered for the fifth annual Brandeis Dance Marathon, part of a nation-wide movement which fundraises for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Combining dancing, celebrating and fundraising, the event provides the opportunity for students to help the patients and families of Boston Children’s Hospital. Located just down the street from campus, Boston Children’s Hospital is currently ranked as the best pediatric hospital in the world by the U.S. News & World Report. The Brandeis Dance Marathon, sponsored by Adagio Dance Company and the Brandeis Pluralism Alliance, was spearheaded by Brittany Ritell ’15 and a committee of devoted students.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“The idea of a dance marathon might put some people out of their comfort zone. The event doesn’t actually require any prior knowledge or dance skills, just a willingness to have fun and learn,” said Ritell. Brandeis dance groups gave performances and lessons to help newcomers learn the steps. Additional activities such as photo scavenger hunts, trivia and other games allowed students a break from hours of dancing. This year, the Brandeis Dance Marathon hosted two Miracle Families. “Miracle Families are families who have been helped by the hospital and essentially act as ambassadors—they come to our event, participate and share their stories. Interacting with these kids and their families is always my favorite part of the evening,” said Ritell.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In addition to the Dance Marathon, the Adagio Dance Company has collaborated with Brandeis students to host several other events throughout the year. Additional events included a craft day titled “Princes and Princesses” at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Waltham, in which several Brandeis students helped the children make crowns, wands, shields and other crafts.

“I love Dance Marathon because it allows me to combine my passions for community service and dance with my interest in business and fundraising. Planning Brandeis Dance Marathon has given me more practical experience in business development and fundraising than any internship could, [allowing] me to use my passion for dance in a positive way,” says Ritell. Her committee not only generates large amounts of fundraising through the Brandeis Dance Marathon, but also allows her to gain valuable skills for the future. Among Ritell’s many contributions, she has widely increased student awareness and participation.

“As the head of the event I make a big effort to try and fundraise the most and talk about the event every chance that I can. I think that until last year this event was relatively unheard of on campus but over the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of really watching it grow.” Ritell has advocated for many changes as she prepares to pass on the Dance Marathon Coordinator position. She has worked to leave the future coordinator with the tools for success that will be necessary for future events. While the position comes with many rewards, Ritell hopes to eliOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAminate some of the stress and difficulties of the job. Her energetic spirit and willingness to help others will continue to serve the group long after she has graduated.

For those interested in participating at future events, Ritell suggests signing up to become a Ghost Dancer. Her committee assists volunteers in signing up for a DonorDrive account which allows individuals to fundraise for the Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to the main event, various lessons and performances will take place throughout the year. Brandeis Dance Marathon’s Facebook page keeps its followers up to date with all upcoming events.

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