By far the most ambitious event this Fringe is Dance Marathon. A six-hour tournament in which participants compete to be the last dancer standing – with a thousand-dollar prize on the line. We spoke to organiser Callum Dinnison about how this monster of a competition is going to work!
Tell us about the event – how does Dance Marathon work?
Doors open at 4pm. Contestants sign a waiver saying they are fit to compete and receive three wristbands each worth a ten-minute break. Rules and housekeeping will be explained at 5.45pm and then the competition begins at 6pm sharp! To stay in the competition you must simply be upright and moving on the dance floor. There will be games and elimination rounds throughout the day, with free drinks and extra breaks as prizes, but we will ultimately be left with one dancer at midnight who will be crowned Dance Marathon Champion and win $1000!
Where did you first get the idea to run something like this?
I first saw a Dance Marathon on an episode of Gilmore Girls (I'm a hardcore fan). Although the episode was heartbreaking, the Dance Marathon was phenomenal. The entire town got together at 6am and competed for 24 hours to see who would take home the trophy and title of Dance Marathon Champion. I am aware it is a scripted show, but the event looked electric with everybody having an incredible time – as soon as I saw that episode I knew this was something I wanted to be apart of! I searched for years to find one in Australia with no luck, so eventually decided I'd have to host one myself.
You’re giving a cut of the proceeds to Beyond Blue. Do you think dance can help with depression and mental health?
Beyond Blue is a wonderful organisation providing information and support to thousands of Australians dealing with mental health issues. I know from experience how important physical exercise and movement can be for dealing with anxiety and depression. This event is the perfect way to release any frustrations or stress you might be dealing with and just have a good time. There is literally no skill required to participate so everyone is welcome to dance like nobody is watching and have fun.
Dance-marathoning is obviously an endurance sport. How will people stay fed/hydrated/caffeinated for 6 hours?
There is a bar serving beers, ciders, wine and cocktails – I recommend the jitterbug if you want to keep those feet moving! There will also be water coolers around the dance floor for anyone who needs to stay hydrated.
The food trucks just outside will be serving hotdogs, chips, waffles, milkshakes and vegan Spanish food courtesy of Gracias Abuelos. For the first half of the event there will be waiters on the dance floor taking your food and drink order. Just have your card handy (cashless event) and they will be back with the fuel you need to keep going.
Dance Marathon is a pretty ambitious concept. What sort of event would you like to tackle next?
For next years Fringe Festival I am incredibly eager to do a legitimate Beer Pong Tournament, complete with official umpires, regulation tables, DJs, food trucks and a tasty cash prize. I have been doing a yearly Beer Pong Tournament with my friends for years now and if people have half as much fun as we do I think it could be a riot.
What’s your best tip for someone who’s never dance-marathoned before?
For those who are competing you should definitely treat this as a sporting challenge. Get a good night's rest, drink lots of water, wear your comfiest party shoes and psyche yourself up with the best jams on the way to the event. Once you arrive you will be in excellent hands but ultimately it is all up to you. Not everyone can win that thousand-dollar prize but at the end of the day I guarantee you'll have had an awesome time.
What kind of music will you be playing?
Both Matt and Adam have been performing for years and play a mix of alternative and current pop to your classic old-school beats. They recently opened for Alison Wonderland on her Awake tour last year, where their job was to warm up the crowd before her performance. From rock 'n' roll to EDM and R&B, these guys have six hours to cover almost all genres of music and keep everyone moving. Matt is also a talented saxophonist which will be making an appearance at the event.
What will you be up to on the night?
When I am not on stage addressing the contestants I will 100% be on that dance floor! I will be a good reminder that literally no dance skill is required in this competition – just energy and enthusiasm.
Is the event open to any age group?
As there is a bar with a variety of drinks, including cocktails, it is an 18+ event.
Will you need to have somebody with first aid on standby just in case?
Over half of the staff at the event are qualified in first aid, including the referees who will be keeping a close eye on all competitors. Although we do want people to compete for as long as they can, any signs of them endangering their safety, or the safety of others, may result in them being eliminated.