One-On-One With Past THON Dancer Sydney Chiat
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Only a select few get the opportunity to dance in THON. While dancing for 46 hours straight is challenging, it is also tremendously rewarding.
Sydney Chiat, a fourth-year education major, got the opportunity to dance in Thon last year. Chiat has gone to Thon since her freshman year, and last year danced for LEV.
LEV is a student-run jewish organization that stands for “Live for Every Victory.”
Most students want to get involved with Thon the moment they accept their applications to Penn State. However, Chiat didn’t know she wanted to participate in THON until she got to Penn State.
Chiat went her first-year and immediately knew she wanted to get involved.
“I didn’t realize the impact until I got to THON freshman year. I honestly do it just to have the kids forget about their diagnosis for a weekend,” Chiat said.
Chiat really appreciated the opportunity to dance last year, but it wasn’t the same experience most dancers have. Last year’s THON was moved to online because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Chiat and the rest of the dancers had to dance in their homes instead of dancing together in the Bryce Jordan Center. Chiat still made the most of her experience.
"I think one of the biggest things with it being virtual was we knew the time the entire time because obviously we are in an apartment where we can see the sun rise and the sun set. Knowing the time was definitely difficult,” Chiat said.
Chiat is again dancing in THON this year, and hopes to offer some wisdom to the younger dancers.
“Obviously it is going to get difficult and it is going to get hard, I am not going to lie. There are times when you just wanna sit and fall asleep. But at the end of the day remember why you are doing this. The people you are doing this for are going through much worse,:” Chiat said.
The dancers’ job is to give the children a weekend of escapism. Chiat is now ready to dance in the Bryce Jordan Center, and feels more prepared this time around. It is going to be a momentous occasion when everyone is dancing under one roof again.
Aidan Torok is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.