Q: How do they come up with the THON line dance?

What's up with that?

THON line dancers, photo courtesy Penn State Alumni Association

A: It’s not easy to pack a year’s worth of current events into a five-minute song, but that’s the task the THON Dancer Relations Committee is given each year. The line dance, strategically designed to both inspire weary dancers and help them stay loose and limber, comes together gradually, says THON 2023 Dancer Relations Director Reilly Smith. Committee members compile a list of events throughout the summer and fall for four categories—the year at Penn State, world events, pop culture, and that year’s THON verse—and then begin weaving them into the lyrics. The group collaborates on music selection and then mixes the verses, the chorus, and two dance breaks, holding tight to the five-minute time frame. The dance moves feature simple, effective stretches, such as side lunges or arm reaches, and organizers attempt to balance clean choreography with simple moves that even inexperienced dancers can handle. Last year, the chorus included a line spoken by THON child Sean Grindle, and Smith hopes to include a similar tweak to this year’s dance. The goal is to produce a dance and song that everyone can see themselves in. “It can really bring the whole BJC together,” Smith says.