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Dancing for the Kids: USC students prepare for Dance Marathon Main Event

On Feb. 25, more than 1,000 University of South Carolina students will be on their feet all day, dancing to raise money to help the kids at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. Throughout the long day, the USC Dance Marathon Morale Team will lead the way, keeping everyone’s eyes on the goal and keeping the energy level high.

Some of the Morale Team had a chance to show off their skills early, performing in front of an even bigger crowd at halftime of a USC men’s basketball game Feb. 15 at Colonial Life Arena. Jo Jo Winkelmann, a USC student who is serving as this year’s Dance Marathon Alumni Relations Director, took time to share her thoughts on the importance of the night to the cause she and her fellow students work all year to support. Her words follow, with photos by USC alumna and Midlands Anchor photographer Rebecca Johnson.

“I was really nervous before we walked out on the court. However, once the music started, it was easy to get into it and just have fun because I knew I was dancing with such a supportive and enthusiastic group of people who love the cause as much as I do.

Jo Jo Winkelmann (front row, second from left), dances with fellow USCDM members at the 2/17 USC men’s basketball game (photo by Rebecca Johnson)

“I’m not actually on morale, but all of staff and morale are part of what we call One Team One Dream, so we work together throughout the year and it’s important for us to establish that foundation of teamwork and unity. That’s what we want to foster with the student body and community throughout the year and especially at Main Event on Feb. 25.

“It’s important for USCDM to seize opportunities like the one we had the basketball game because, as much as we wish everybody already knew about Dance Marathon, we know there are lots of people in our campus and local communities who have never heard of it. Even for those who have, many of them don’t know why we dance and who we fundraise for. Without DM programs like ours, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals would still receive funding, but it wouldn’t be nearly enough.

“Without us, raising money for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital wouldn’t be nearly as fun and upbeat. The number of people who hear these kids’ healthcare miracle stories and are driven to help change the lives of children would be far less. Dancing at the basketball game was just another small step to spreading our ambition and our mission to other people who may want to join our movement and help us reach our goals for the kids.”

All money raised by USC Dance Marathon goes to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. To learn more about the cause or to donate, visit the USCDM website.

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