Penn State THON 2018 Bubbles

Eric Kantner (senior-biobehavioral health) blows bubbles while supporting dancers in Penn State THON as a dancer relations committee member in the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday February 17, 2018.

This weekend, 705 dancers took to the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center to stand for 46 hours straight. Among them, Dancer Relations committee members -- affectionately known as DRCMs -- are helping dancers with their every need, from stretching to providing moral support. 

Donning bright yellow shirts, two committee members are paired with two dancers each to help them get through the weekend.
 
For Cierra McBean, being a Dancer Relations committee member ties into her passion for being a doctor in the future.
 
McBean (junior-biobehavioral health) said she tries to make sure her dancers are OK not only physically, but also mentally. McBean said this is her second consecutive year being a DRCM, and she learned a lot from last year that has helped her excel during THON 2019. 
 
Initially, she was nervous she would mess up by telling her dancers the time.
 
"But anything you do is helpful for them," McBean said. 
 
Now a "seasoned" committee member, McBean said she learned this year to leave her dancer alone more often than the dancers want them to be. 
 
"We'd rather them be alone and stretching a lot then telling them," McBean said. "I've learned that it's better to be a seasoned committee member because your more helpful on the floor. People come to you because they trust you. I love it." 
 
McBean said her relationship with her dancers during THON Weekend has dramatically changed in comparison to the weeks leading up to the dance marathon.
 
"During THON, you literally become a parent," McBean said. "You are their parent making sure they're well and eating and making sure they're drinking water and Gatorade. It's almost like taking care of a child because when they start to lose their stamina, they start to get a little tired and they need more guidance. That's why we're here, to guide them." 
 
McBean said when she notices her dancers losing stamina, she brings them inspirations, their favorite snacks, games and scavenger hunts. 
 
"Just something to keep their mind not lost and blank," McBean said. 
Gaby Garofolo

Gaby Garofolo is spending her first year at THON as a dancer relations committee member. "Obviously what they're going through is very hard, so to support them feels very good," Garofolo said. 

 
Gaby Garofolo is spending her first year at THON as a dancer relations committee member. 
 
"I knew THON is such a big part of our school so I wanted to get involved," Garofolo (freshman-business) said. "I didn't really know a lot of people coming in here, so this is a really great way to meet people." 
 
Garofolo said she chose to try out for the Dancer Relations committee because she wanted to "be there for the dancers."
 
"Obviously what they're going through is very hard," Garofolo said, "so to support them feels very good."
 
Now in the midst of THON weekend, she said the bond with her dancers is only becoming stronger. 
 
"So far my dancers have been good, but it's definitely going to get harder for them," Garofolo said. "So I know there is definitely some time to support them even more."
 
Ashley Ouzomgi

Penn State freshman Ashley Ouzomgi is spending her first year at THON as a dancer relations committee member. 

Ashley Ouzomgi is also experiencing her first year at THON as a Dancer Relations committee member. 
 
Ouzomgi (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said she originally didn't know what being a Dancer Relations committee member would entail. 
 
"But then I looked more into it, and I thought that being there for the dancers was one of the greatest impacts that I could do," Ouzomgi said. 
 
Ouzomgi said her relationship with her dancer Esteban Mena has become stronger throughout the weekend. 
 
"When we first met it was kind of like 'Here's your dancer,' kind of getting to know each other," Ouzomgi said, "but now, we learned how to kind of connect and know when he needs help."
 
Her favorite part of THON Weekend is seeing the kids running around the floor and being part of water gun fights. 
 
"It makes it feel so real," Ouzomgi said. "Just shows you in person why you're doing this. It motivates me even more. It's the best inspiration." 

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