Dancer’s Main Event Survival Guide

Our Main Event is TOMORROW and everyone involved in Dance Marathon at the University of Florida is bursting with excitement! Each year around this time, we look to Dancers to get the energy pumping and ring in the big day. Our Dancers experience one of Dance Marathon at UF’s most adored traditions, and they always exceed our expectations!

Throughout the duration of the Main Event, Dancers will learn our Linedance, eat delicious food provided by our Hospitality Captain Team and hear inspiring stories from our Miracle Families. But before all of that, we want to give our Dancers an official Survival Guide for the Main Event. 

  • Keep up the fundraising work and bring it home! There is nothing like celebrating all your hard work from the year during the Main Event. 


  • Get a good night’s sleep. We can’t wait to see you all energized for DM 2021! Make sure to turn the lights out early, so you are ready for the long hours ahead. 


  • Pack all the necessities. Don’t forget to grab the essentials – comfortable shoes and extra socks, a reusable water bottle, a phone charger, toiletries, extra clothes and some snacks!


  • Save some extra time the morning of. You definitely do not want to miss the special Opening Ceremony! Be sure to arrive on time, get checked in and get hyped up before the day starts. 


  • Have fun and remember your why. The Main Event is the culmination of our hard work all year long. It is meant to be a celebration, but it can also be emotional and exhausting. Make sure to have fun! Most importantly, remember why you have dedicated time to this organization to raise money for the Miracle Children at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. 

DM at UF would not be what we are without our Dancers. Dancers are the backbone of our organization and the heart of this movement at large. They are the bodies down on the Floor and spread throughout the O’Connell Center and the smiling faces in the socially distant crowd. Dancers are the love and the liveliness. The Main Event will look different this year, but we know Dancers will continue to make up an integral part of DM at UF.

March Mini Marathons Recap

March may have come and gone, but the miracles continue to roll in.

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida’s devotion reaches farther than the city of Gainesville. The army that fights for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network is not just college students. High school students unite too. 

In March, Vero Beach, The Villages, Saint Andrew’s, Palm Beach Central, Leesburg, Forest, Buchholz, Eastside, Gainesville, Belleview, Boca Raton and Wellington High School all held Mini Dance Marathons!

Mini Marathon Season is Gabbi Thaw’s, a Marathon Relations Captain, favorite season of the year. 

“What makes Mini Season so meaningful is being able to work alongside people who bring so much passion and love to the team,” Thaw said.

At the beginning of the year, the Marathon Relations Team had no clue what virtual Mini Marathons would look like, she said. However, it has evolved to be Thaw’s favorite part of 2021. 

“It’s so fun being together over Zoom and dancing virtually with the high schoolers,” she said. “Even though we may be virtual, there’s no other people I’d rather dance with, inspire with and come together with than MR.” 

She said Marathon Relations has brought out the best in her because she has the opportunity to bring out the best in the high schoolers. One of those students is Gabriela Mantilla, a senior at Boca Raton High School.

“The event this year despite all the challenges of it being online was so amazing,” Mantilla said. “It was so great to see Kinsey and get to rave with her while raising money for Shands.” 

Kinsey B. is a Miracle Child who was diagnosed with Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (AHUS), which is now believed to be a different complement disorder. Since her initial diagnosis, Kinsey has been diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) and several learning disabilities.

But Kinsey is one of a kind, and childhood illness does not stop her. Dance Marathon at UF participants know her from her smile, dance moves and the love and positivity she radiates.

“The energy was so high throughout the entire event,” Mantilla said. “There was dancing and games, overall the spirit and morale was so high throughout the night.” 

The senior has been a part of the DM at UF family since her sophomore year of high school. In 2020, Mantilla was a chair for Boca Raton’s Mini Marathon. She plans to continue her efforts when she attends UF in the fall. 

“My biggest takeaway is that it’s all For The Kids,” she said. “These kids go through so much, yet they maintain high spirits and amazing energy.” 

Boca Raton High School raised over $16,000 for the children at Shands. 

“Each and every Miracle Child inspires me every day,” Mantilla said. “I’m so glad to be able to hangout with them at DM while raising money for Shands.” 

Mini Marathons and Kirstyn’s Krew, a program that honors Kirstyn Tripp – our Miracle Child who lost her battle to childhood illness in 2018, help to spread awareness. Marsha Tripp, Kirstyn’s mother, greatly appreciates the Mini Marathons.

“I just think the Minis are so important because those high schoolers are the future of Dance Marathon going forward.” 

With only one week until DM at UF’s Main Event, now more than ever, it’s the Dance Marathon community’s #TimeToUnite.

It’s #OurTimeNow to leave a #LegacyOfHope.

March Mini Marathon totals:

  • Vero Beach: $13,207.93
  • The Villages: $7,416.79
  • Saint Andrew’s: $19,134.69
  • Palm Beach Central: $37,075.09
  • Leesburg: $1,153.63
  • Forest: $29,211.97
  • Buchholz, Eastside and Gainesville: $6,776.75
  • Belleview: $17,123.62
  • Boca Raton: $16,004.77
  • Wellington: $27,100.69

2021 Theme Hours Reveal

2021 Theme Hours Reveal 

Each Dance Marathon sets itself apart from the last. Whether it is the Silent Disco, the Miracle Family stories or the Theme Hours. As our Dance Marathon at the University of Florida Main Event nears, we recognize the activities that make our event so electric and are thrilled to reveal our Dance Marathon at UF 2021 Theme Hours! This year, Theme Hours will take place in person as well as virtually, giving participants the ability to participate in whichever option they are most comfortable with. 

Grease vs. Greece (Orange Shift)

It’s a mix between your favorite ’70s musical romance starring Sandy and Danny combined with the mystical tales of Greek mythology. This first Theme Hour will include activities such as hand jive lessons, karaoke, toilet paper toga and pin the eye on the cyclops. Virtually, Grease vs. Greece participants will engage in a scavenger hunt, Zoom Olympics and trivia. 

Survivor: DM Island (Orange Shift)

Just like the television show, the Survivor: DM Island Theme Hour will test castaways – or Dancers – through a series of challenges, but no one’s getting kicked off the island on this episode. Activities for Survivor: DM Island will include kan jam, trash can/stone toss, socially distanced four corners and charades. The 2021 Linedance will also be taught throughout this hour by our very own Morale Team! Over Zoom, Dancers have the opportunity to make homemade crafts, participate in a Kahoot on survival and camping, as well as write letters to the DM at UF Miracle Families. 

Out of the Page (Orange Shift)

The pages of your favorite storybooks come to life in the Out of the Page Theme Hour. While a live band plays throughout the hour, Dancers will take part in pictionary, name that tune, charades and an exciting game of Quidditch. Virtual engagement offers a Harry Potter House quiz and a Hunger Games District quiz, to find out where your personality falls in the world of wizards and Katniss Everdeen. Let your inner book-nerd thrive in this hour of our favorite story fandoms. 

Miracles on Broadway (Blue Shift)

Time for every Dancer’s big break! Miracles on Broadway is a Theme Hour full of singing, acting, dancing and more. Get in on the act with activities such as a Broadway singalong, decorating your own playbill, karaoke, a rap battle and freeze dance. If you’re participating virtually, don’t worry about missing out on the excitement. Engage in Broadway song requests, bingo, Just Dance, flashlight singing and song trivia. Break a leg!

DM Games (Blue Shift)

It’s game time and with DM at UF, everyone’s a winner. This Theme Hour isn’t just for the sports lovers! In DM Games, Dancers partake in a wide range of challenges like giant rock paper scissors, table tennis, foam bowling, soccer and four corners. Put your gaming to the test with virtual Kahoot, Among Us, Game Pigeon and hangman. 

SS DM (Blue Shift)

All aboard the SS DM in the last Theme Hour! Join the steamship headed to the Final Total Reveal while participating in Family Feud, a limbo contest, Hula-Hoop contest, Among Us and a Game Pigeon tournament. Dancers who spend this last hour online have the option to play Among Us, Game Pigeon and go through a virtual escape room. See you on the sea! 

Hosted by the Morale Team, these Theme Hours are sure to bring even more anticipation to what will be such an impactful event. DM at UF is only days away, and we cannot wait to experience everything that makes these 26.2 hours so incredible.