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Dance Marathon concludes with uplifting spirit and $118,413.83 raised

Members of the Pediatric AIDS Coalition hold up large numbers on stage at Pauley Pavilion to reveal how much money was raised during Dance Marathon. The 2023 event raised $118,413.83, an increase of about $6,000 from last year’s raised total. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Sanjana Chadive

April 9, 2023 9:00 p.m.

After nearly 19 hours of dancing and live performances, Dance Marathon 2023 has officially come to an end.

The event concluded at 6:45 a.m. on Sunday with the Pediatric AIDS Coalition raising $118,413.83, surpassing last year’s total of $112,805.42. Leading up to the announcement, PAC ensured a lively final hour with dynamic dances, the unveiling of various prize winners and a closing speech by PAC’s president, fourth-year international development studies and political science student Alexis Daetz, who recalled the year’s theme of “Uplift.”

“Soon, most of us have the ability to go sleep it off and forget about all of this,” Daetz said. “I ask you to choose not to forget. Carry this experience with you, change the narrative, erase the stigma.”

When the clock struck 6 a.m., members of PAC immediately began their morale dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” which was performed at the top of every hour to keep participants’ spirits uplifted, said third-year geography and public affairs student and PAC Public Relations Committee Member William McReynolds.

[Related: Student performers, rising artists keep Dance Marathoners moving all night long]

Students huddled together on the dance floor to hear the placement of the teams in this year’s Color Wars competition, in which dancers and PAC members were divided into seven or eight different team colors and participated in various competitions throughout Dance Marathon to earn points, McReynolds said. This year, team silver placed first, and green and yellow came in second and third, respectively.

Once the winner of the Color Wars competition was revealed, PAC Director of Corporate Relations Carly Yoon announced this year’s raffle winners. Among the 10 prizes were tickets to Coachella’s Day Club pool party, Barry’s Bootcamp and holiday yoga vouchers, and pairs of season tickets to UCLA football and basketball games.

(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Despite the 6:45 a.m. timestamp, participants cheer excitedly as they countdown to the end of the 19-hour event. 2023 marks the first year PAC was able to host Dance Marathon inside Pauley Pavilion since 2019. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Before Daetz gave her speech, the morale team thanked the entertainment committee, lighting and sound crew, and recreational staff for helping create the high-spirited and uplifting atmosphere throughout all 19 hours of Dance Marathon. After she took the stage, Daetz expressed her gratitude toward the participants for remaining at Dance Marathon until the very end and implored them to remember this experience while spearheading more awareness about pediatric AIDS.

Daetz recognized Dance Marathon’s three beneficiaries – The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, The Laurel Foundation and the UCLA AIDS Institute – before thanking everyone who participated and leading the PAC members in a cheer. The morale team then sang a final a capella rendition of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

[Related: Dance Marathoners maintain energy, persisting into the early hours of the morning]

When the fundraising total of $118,413.83 was revealed, waves of applause erupted among the participants. Reflecting upon the event, third-year psychobiology student and Dancer Relations/Color Captain Isha Das said she was glad a disease like pediatric AIDS is finally receiving attention.

“It was just so exciting to see the amount of people who come together to support such a big cause such as pediatric AIDS, especially because it is so stigmatized,” Das said. “Seeing more and more people really understand the reality of it and how it can be eradicated from the world is really exciting.”

In the final minutes of Dance Marathon, participants took a seat to watch an outro edited by PAC’s media committee. The short video was composed of photos, clips and soundbites from the night before. As students began leaving the arena in search of sunlight and fresh air, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” and Daetz’s call to action echoed through the halls of Pauley Pavilion one last time.

“All the steps coming from you – for me, it was like 40,000 steps over Dance Marathon – coming from so many compassionate and inspiring folks like all of you, is what will guide us towards an AIDS-free generation,” Daetz said. “Whether you came in knowing what this was all about, or whether you just wanted to rizz up your dance partner, you took a literal stand against pediatric HIV and AIDS.”

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Sanjana Chadive | Lifestyle editor
Chadive is the 2023-2024 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts staff writer from 2022-2023. She is a third-year comparative literature student from Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania.
Chadive is the 2023-2024 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts staff writer from 2022-2023. She is a third-year comparative literature student from Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania.
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