Pre-THON Wisdom: An Interview With a Former Dancer

Excitement and anticipation has been building up for THON 2015 since last year’s THON weekend ended. THON, Penn State’s 46 hour dance marathon, is officially less than a week away. Students will pack the Bryce Jordan Center to support and celebrate all the hard work that’s been going on in preparation for this momentous weekend.

Valley sat down with junior Angie Koval, who danced last year, to get some advice for the dancers this year – after all, they have enough to think about before THON weekend.

1. Which organization did you dance for last year?

I danced for my commonwealth campus, Penn State Berks.”

2. Why did you want to dance in THON?

There were many factors that went into my decision to dance, but the one that stands out to me the most was that dancing was a way to give back to what this organization has given to me. Being so close with my Berks THONers and getting the chance to meet and spend time with our three THON families, it just really opened my eyes to the wonderful opportunities THON offers to not only the Four Diamonds Families, but to the volunteers as well. To know that a random Penn State student can be a hero to a child that weekend, and to a child they might not even know is just so beautiful. And I thought of it as such an honor to stand for our Berks Families and knowing that my actions and my dancing was a reason they smiled that weekend just makes me so happy.”

3. What was your mentality going into THON last year?

Going into THON I would say I was pretty calm. I had my schedule of going to the gym everyday, eating healthy (no sugar or caffeine), talking to my moraler and getting his advice, talking to previous dancers for tips, getting enough sleep. The thought that I would be standing for 46 hours never scared me, and didn’t really cross my mind at all. I just told myself that I will be dancing in THON, not standing and not sleeping for 46 hours. And after being selected as a dancer I really began to bond with our THON families even more. Having their support up to THON made the journey so much easier.”

4. What was going on for you during THON (mentally, physically..etc.)?

THON weekend is just a blur of memories now. There are certain moments that I can see clearly in my head and the other hours I can not tell you what I did. As most dancers will say, you definitely have your highs, and you certainly have your lows. The beginning of the weekend I felt great. I was well rested and stretched going into THON. I had little to no foot or body pain the entire weekend, even past hour 40, while my partner’s feet were bad almost the entire weekend. As for mentally, I just went with the flow. I never thought about time and just tried to keep as busy as possible. It was so nice having our families on the floor with me, or just seeing other children on the floor as a constant reminder why I was standing where I was.”

5. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing that you think would make
the experience even better, what would it be?

Soak up every possible moment because although 46 hours seems like a long time, looking back now it feels like it was 46 seconds.”

6. What advice do you give (or want to give) dancers this year? What mentality
should they have going into it?

The first thing is when you walk into that BJC through the human tunnel, look around and feel the love and support in that room. That was without a doubt in my top three favorite THON memories, ever. You need to tell yourself, although at first it is filled with thousands and thousands of strangers, those strangers turn into your family within minutes. Know the sacrifices you are making helps others, but it also helps yourself. Also, make sure you stretch, stay hydrated, and eat a lot this weekend. It’s so easy to look past the most basic things.”

7. Are you excited to just be able to watch, or if you could do it again would
you want to dance again?

This year I am a Dancer Relations Committee Member so I will have my own dancer to support emotionally and physically. I am so excited to be on the other end and help the dancers, and also just be a part and experience with them what will be the best weekend of their life, like it was the best weekend of mine when I danced.”


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