Meet the Dancer Relations Team

Next up in our five-part series on the 2018 Executive Board is the Dancer Relations team! Even though this team is a new addition to Dance Marathon, the individual members have close ties to this movement and the people within it.

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Niki Little, Dancer Relations Director

Explain your position in layman's terms.

As the Dancer Relations Director, my job is to make sure every student feels important, connected and included within this organization! I oversee four positions on our Executive Board: Membership, Recruitment, Morale and Outreach and with that, I ensure our dancers have the best and most exciting year-round experience with Dance Marathon at FSU.

Talk about your favorite Dance Marathon related memory.

My favorite memory took place at DM 2017, a couple of hours before lifting up the total reveal numbers of 1.83 million dollars with my fellow DM 2017 Exec members (had to mention it, because that’s definitely a close second). When I was at the Marathon, I walked over to our gong. The gong is something we bring back to our Marathon year after year symbolizing “the heartbeat of our Marathon.” Every time someone raises $100 in the Civic Center during the Marathon weekend, they hit the gong and everyone stops and cheers. The sound of the gong is another reminder of the miracles and changes we are making For The Kids. At one moment during the Marathon, I took out my headset walkie talkie, stood by myself and watched in silence as a huge line formed in front of the gong. One by one, students from across our campus lined up to sound another heartbeat of our marathon... another heartbeat for the parents who pray they won't hear any more bad news... another heartbeat for the strongest kids in the world, so deserving of a normal childhood. And I lost it. Wholeheartedly, I lost it. Staring at this insanely long line of students, looking around the room and seeing 1,000 students who were exhausted and hurting and yet were still fighting on… so many emotions overcame me and I couldn’t hold it together. I can't remember a time I ever felt that connected, confident and in love with this organization. I love this cause. I have thousands of memories that will last me a lifetime. But that moment, I truly don't think anything will ever top that.

How can dancers make the most out of their Dance Marathon experience year after year?

A lot of first-year dancers don’t realize that Dance Marathon is a year-long movement, not just a weekend-long event. To get the most out of this organization and to have the best dancer experience possible, throw yourself into it! I have always said that this is truly the best organization on Florida State’s campus and what you put into it is what you will get out of it. This organization is really just something that can't be put into words, but it is something you want to be apart of. It will motivate you, inspire you and introduce you to some really incredible people. You can make the most out of your DM experience year after year by talking to students who have participated before, asking questions, getting to know your morale captains, attending events, meeting delegates, internal team members and dancers from other teams! Like many first-year dancers, I didn't know what Dance Marathon was when I first came to FSU, but if you take a chance and throw yourself into this, you might just find something that becomes your passion for the next four years (maybe even beyond). I know I did!

What do you hope to accomplish as the Dancer Relations Director?

One thing we often hear from students is, “I didn’t truly understand what the ‘hype’ was surrounding Dance Marathon during my first year, but the second I walked into that Civic Center for the Marathon, I felt something I can’t put into words. I understood it.” What I would love is for students to feel that connected and excited about Dance Marathon year-round. Our internal team is such a wonderful family and every member has a specific reason as to why they come back and fight within this organization year after year. However, I want dancers to know that they are just as much a part of that family as anyone else and they are what makes this organization possible. Dancers have a home within DM at FSU. As Dancer Relations Director, I hope to accomplish instilling a sense of comfort, acceptance and passion amongst any and all students and to inspire our student body to bring hope For The Kids that we love fighting for.

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Ali Jacobs, Morale Chair

Explain your position in layman's terms.

As the Morale Chair, I work with my three Coordinators all year long to lead our large family of around 100 Morale Captains (MC’s). We work to lead the Morale Captains to be role models and advocates of Dance Marathon. One may recognize the Morale Captains as those energetic, crazy, colorfully dressed people you see at the Marathon, but their work is so much more than that. My Coordinators and I hold weekly meetings starting in October until the Marathon for the MC's to prepare, learn and plan for the weekend long event. They are present at every DM event, they volunteer for various tasks for the organization, they work with their paired team and dancers to get people excited for the Marathon. They do all of this and several other tasks in that I plan, oversee and help them with. Finally, the Morale Chair is responsible for creating the line dance that the entire Civic Center performs every hour on the hour at the Marathon.

Talk about your favorite Dance Marathon related memory.

Last year, as a Morale Coordinator on the Morale team - which consisted of myself, the two other Coordinators, and the Morale Chair - set an incredible goal for all 105 Morale Captains to hit Comma Club, which means they each fundraised at least $1,000. This had never been done before, and at first, we weren't even too sure we could accomplish it. Our Morale Captains worked so hard all year long, and it wasn't until we were at the Marathon that the group started getting closer and closer to achieving this goal. It got to a point where all of the Morale Captains had hit Comma Club, except for one who actually was unable to attend the Marathon due to a family emergency. This sole MC was not left behind, as the other 104 MC’s came together and donated enough money to get him to $1,000. Thus, welcoming every single Morale Captain into the Comma Club! It was an incredible moment for all of us and everyone in that Civic Center!

If you could choose a song that would play every time you walk into a room, what would it be and why?

Crazy In Love by Beyonce, because the beginning of that song is just asking me to strut into a room, and I guess if I had the opportunity to be anything like Beyonce I'd take it.

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Courtney Bine, Membership Chair

Explain your position in layman's terms.

The Membership Chair is the liaison between our internal team and all of our Delegates and Dancers. As Membership Chair, I get the amazing opportunity to work with our group of Delegates who are some of the hardest working people on our team! They are tasked with taking everything we tell them and getting all of their members to become more knowledgeable about what is coming up for DM. Throughout the year my team and I will guide all of our Delegates with fundraising efforts, getting dancers excited for the Marathon, helping them hit their goals and so much more.

Talk about your favorite Dance Marathon related memory.

I am sure everyone says this, but it would have to be the total reveal for this past year. Being on CORE last year was a huge responsibility but it also helped me become that much more invested in this cause, and when we held up that $1.8 surpassing our goal I couldn't help but burst into happy tears! All the long nights and hard work was worth it all year long, but this moment proved that to me even more.

What role do Delegates play in Dance Marathon?

The Delegates play a huge role in this movement, we as an internal team are around 300-400 people, but the delegates are the ones who bring the 1,800 dancers to the Marathon each year. Not only that, but their hard work is what makes our families feel more engaged and supported, and their efforts are what make our organization grow in numbers and strength each year! This year’s group of Delegates are unlike any other - they were chosen for their roles and I know each of them will go above and beyond this year!

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Kat Aldereguia, Outreach Chair

Explain your position in layman's terms.

As Outreach Chair, I have the opportunity to help further develop our Alumni Team, encouraging our graduates to return to Dance Marathon at FSU. I also have the privilege to help create and develop a new program we are starting this year called InspiratioNOLE leaders, which is geared towards our newest students at FSU. It is based on teaching them about Dance Marathon and why they should get involved, as well as, giving them the tools and resources to get involved with Dance Marathon as dancers and hopefully future leaders.