University of Kentucky students are setting the stage tonight for an event that has become the largest student-run philanthropic event in the SEC.
Speakers, stage lights, and rolling bins full of tools and supplies are scattered about the floor of Memorial Coliseum as students set about the work of turning the arena into the stage for a 24-hour dance marathon – the fastest growing in the nation, in fact.
Each hour has a theme. And organizers are staying tight-lipped about this year’s plans.
"In past years... a really popular one has been Rave Hour. We turn all the lights off and we've got some killer DJs that have come in the past that might make a reappearance," says Dance Blue PR director Hannah Simms.
Simms says the floor will soon be populated by close to 800 dancers, none of whom will be allowed to sit or sleep for an entire day. The tradition is meant to honor the ultimate recipients of Dance Blue’s annual proceeds, the patients at UK’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic.
"It's quite symbolic for us. A lot of our dancers have personal connections to a battle with cancer, whether it be a family member of a friend or someone they've met through Dance Blue that's battling cancer. So there are a lot of personal relationships that are celebrated through standing for 24 hours," Simms says.
Last year, students danced their way past the $1 million mark last year and organizers are optimistic the event will continue to grow this year.