THON 2014: Decoding the Terminology

_DSC8653Whether you’re a THON rookie or have out-of-town guests scratching their heads at your THONese (the language of the dancers), you may find this glossary helpful for getting to know the 46-hour dance marathon better. It’s a lot of words, but they’ll grow on you and roll off your tongue in no time.


The abbreviation for “For The Kids.” THON, which raises money for pediatric cancer, is “For the Kids,” (see what they did there?).

It is one of the most common phrases thrown around all year on social media by THON enthusiasts. It reminds us why our brave dancers stand for 46 hours. Similarly, FTC stands for “For the Cure,” FTD is the shorthand for “For the Dancers” and FTF is “For the Fight.”


‘Bumping’ refers to a group of committee members waiting at at the end of a shift for another group to take over. Only when the next group comes, the previous group is permitted to leave (getting bumped).

Diamonds Up

It is the gesture in which a person raises both of her hands above her head to form a diamond shape, with the tips of the index fingers and thumbs touching each other.

The diamond symbolizes the four diamonds (courage, hope, wisdom and strength) of the Four Diamonds Fund of the Hershey Medical Center, which is both the inspiration and the name of the non-profit organization behind THON.


Orgs is the abbreviation of organizations. Here, orgs are fraternities, sororities, varsity sports teams, dance troupes and other student groups that raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer all year long, and are eligible to have dancers on the floor.


Even though they are called dancers, they do not dance for all of the 46 hours. Dancers are chosen by each eligible org to be a representation of the group in the Bryce Jordan Center. Individuals who do not belong to organizations are eligible to become independent ‘dancers.’


Moralers are personal cheerleaders for the dancers. They are responsible for keeping dancers motivated and ensure their well being. If you see someone in bright yellow T-shirts with a big grin this weekend, there’s a good chance he or she is in one of the Morale committees.

Line dance

Line dance is the dance routine performed (and taught!) by Morale captains. The choreography changes every year and contains references to memorable events from the previous year (hello, little Prince George and Miley Cyrus!). Its purpose is to keep dancers entertained. Plus, an extra workout never hurts anyone, right?

Dancer storage

This is an area backstage where dancers store their personal items in a locker. The dancer storage also doubles as changing rooms for dancers.

THON salon

It is exactly what the name suggests. The THON salon is where dancers can get their hair washed by moralers. Dancers can get their nails done, too, if so they wish. Am I the only one who is jealous


OLM stands for “overlapping moralers.” It refers to the system where a moraler has to wait for a ‘bump’ to happen so that at any given time, a dancer has at least one moraler by his or her side.

Sleep shift

Sleep is the most neglected activity during a THON weekend. In a sleep shift, a captain stays and sleeps at BJC. It is mandatory for captains to work in sleep shifts.

Do you know any cool THON-related words? Tell us in the comments below.

Photo by Jonathan Hsieh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.