They’re the ones behind it all – NBN sat down with Dance Marathon executive chairs Jamie Newman and Daniel Nussbaum toward the end of the 30 hours. The SESP and Weinberg seniors talked about how this year’s DM had gone so far, the relationship with Cradles to Crayons and what they hope to leave behind after DM.
NBN: How are things, how have things been going?
Newman: Things have been going really great. I think the entire Dance Marathon has been a lot more smooth. I’ve had a lot of people come up and say that we’ve been one of the calmest exec boards in the 30 hours, which has been really incredible.
Nussbaum: And I think that’s a testament to the dancers just being really great this year and putting in their all and devoting themselves 110 percent to Cradles to Crayons and Dance Marathon.
NBN: How has it made you feel to see all the dancers supporting Cradles to Crayons, and then to see the staff from Cradles to Crayons and their reactions to that?
Newman: For me, it’s been absolutely incredible to see a cause that I know I’ve personally fallen in love with be spread to so many people. … They are an organization that is doing something so simple, but doing it so well in a way that really, really does change lives. And I think to see so many dancers rally behind that and to see the kids that are supported by Cradles to Crayons be in the tent and interacting with the dancers and having those two communities come together for me has been absolutely incredible.
Nussbaum: The most exciting opportunity has been seeing all these different pieces come together. The slogan of this year is #GrowTogether, and I think that’s really what we’ve seen with three kind of distinct communities growing together this year: Cradles to Crayons, the Evanston Community Foundation and Dance Marathon.
NBN: What has been your favorite part of Dance Marathon so far?
Newman: We started our lockdown block … with a light show to “Mr. Brightside.” And as any Northwestern student knows, Mr. Brightside is like, it’s the song of my college experience, so to have Dance Marathon, which is such a big part of so many people’s college experience, incorporate that into it i thought was really special. It was visually so cool, so fun. Really like the energy in the tent at 1 a.m. was absolutely insane, so that was definitely a memory I will always have.
In addition, my absolutely favorite part of Dance Marathon always … is Sunrise. So, when we project the sunrise on the big projector screens and listen to Here Comes the Sun followed by Piano Man, it’s a really incredible tradition.
Nussbaum: That’s my favorite part every year as well. I’ve liked how many new things we tried this year as well to make the experience a little more fun. We had dancer games on the side – they’ve done that in the past, but we really doubled down on that. There was laser tag during lockdown. Both dogs and mini horses, practically a petting zoo.
Newman: Joe Biden video was definitely a highlight for me.
NBN: How do you hope that people remember this year’s Dance Marathon?
Nussbaum: I think I want people to remember this Dance Marathon as one that pushed the organization forward, to be not just bigger, but also better. I think that’s something that we’ve really pushed hard for this year, and have some accomplishments that we’re really proud of. There’s obviously always still more work to do, but we’re really happy with how this year turned out.
Newman: For me, Dance Marathon just represents that peak level of happiness. I always say the world would be a little bit of a better place if you could take a little of the happiness that exists inside the tent and just spread it into the actual world. I hope that people remember that elated feeling you get when you’re in the tent jumping with a thousand people who you may not know, but you feel this connection with. I hope they remember that and take that into their everyday life, that positivity and connectivity.