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[SCMP Archive] Keeping step with charity: a dance marathon to remember

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 4:28pm

[First published on Feb 2, 1986] Students of the Hong Kong International School took to the dance floor with a vengeance on Friday night. Thirty hours later, at midnight Saturday, they came to the end of their 11th Annual Dance Marathon.

Organised mainly by the students, the event was held to raise funds for charity. Most of the money will go to the Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital with the balance set aside for the school’s Junior-Senior prom. The target sum aimed at was $30,000.

Around 65 high school students participated in the event, some of them joining in immediately after a basketball tournament on Friday.

The idea was for students to dance for 27 successive hours. The whole event, however, lasted for 30 hours with half-hour meal breaks taken during the marathon dance.

Last year 16 students managed to dance to the end.

“I danced for 12 hours last year and it was pretty tiring,” said John Quinn, chairman of the marathon.

“When we get tired we feel terrible and frustrated, but when we have done it and remember it in our later years, we will feel good about it,” he added.

The hardest time for most of the dancers comes at around 3:00am.

“At that time it’s important to have friends around us, encouraging us; and singing and talking with us, it helps a lot,” said John.

“The music and the DJ’s encouragement are also important in keeping the dancers awake.”

Sounds of the American Top 40 saturated the school cafeteria for the two days and all windows were closed to avoid complaints from neighbouring residents.

The students started preparing for the marathon before Christmas with John Quinn as chairman of the working committee; Brian Schroeder. President; Dhaval Patel, vice-president; Jackie Murphy in charge of food; Pam Mar, treasurer; Behram Parekh, technical director; and Erik Gilbertson taking care of the music.

This is, in fact, not the whole story. A high school dance was help at the end of the marathon and nearly all the school’s students attended it.