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Theme gives common goal, motivation for dancers

From recruitment to decorations for the event itself, Ziggython’s theme is an element that affects all other parts of the event throughout the year.

This year, the theme was “Miracles in the City” and the tagline was “This small town can’t handle our big city dreams.”

People like the dream element of this year’s theme, said Alison Doughty, Dance Marathon’s assistant director of external affairs.

“I think that’s really resonated well with campus this year,” she said.

The “miracles” element is another part that’s been important, said Dance Marathon Director Jon Day.

“We usually have a lot of confusion on what Dance Marathon is,” Day said.

People may understand the dance part and miss the rest, Day said. If they notice the theme, especially the “miracles” part, they’ll have a better understanding of the purpose.

It can be easy for people to dismiss Dance Marathon, Doughty said, but the theme “helps us show Dance Marathon in a different light.”

Once dancers have been recruited, the theme remains relevant in planning Ziggython.

“We’ve been really big on the dancer experience this year,” said Alyssa Cannella, community outreach chair for Dance Marathon.

The theme plays into many of the smaller events within Ziggython. For example, one of the 32 hours was “ball drop hour,” Cannella said. This included a countdown and a location meant to look like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The overall intent in decorating was for Perry Field House to feel like a big city, Cannella said.

There was a graffiti wall on which dancers could answer the question “Why do you stand?” Doughty said.

Landmarks used to invoke a city atmosphere included the Hollywood sign, the Statue of Liberty and the Walk of Fame. Cutouts of city skylines were also used.

The process of selecting a theme began within the first few weeks of fall semester, Doughty said.

The 21 members of the Dance Marathon steering committee each came up with five potential themes, Day said. Everyone had an opportunity to defend their favorite theme and explain its potential.

The ideas are narrowed down and voted on. “Miracles in the City” was selected pretty much unanimously, Cannella said.

The theme was announced in September or October, Day said.

Hundreds of people came to the general meeting at which it was revealed, Doughty said.

Themes from previous years include “Superheroes,” “Get Real” and “The Jungle.”

The theme is something that unites people, Cannella said. Though it changes each year, it is always there for the same reason.

“The theme is definitely something I remember from year to year,” Cannella said.​

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