Skip to main content

Inclusive Practices within Dance Marathon

Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a home for all to come and participate just as they are. The language and imagery we use directly impacts our ability to create this welcoming environment. All Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs should feel empowered to adopt these practices into their local organizations, keeping the same mentality of this program being a safe space for all to participate.

Kansas Miracle has a ramp leading to the stage, ensuring accessibility for all.

Words and images matter, and that’s why nationally we’ve stopped using phrases and imagery that are not inclusive. Phrases like “too legit to sit”, “sit down for what”, and “stand for those who can’t” aren’t the best representations of what Dance Marathon does for the communities it serves. These phrases aren’t inclusive of our friends or miracle families who want to participate and also may have visible or invisible disabilities where standing for long periods of time is difficult or not possible.

There are many slogans that more accurately represent the Dance Marathon movement. Use the phrase “Change Kids’ Health, Change the Future” or “this generation fighting for the next”, which are fully and wholly inclusive of all people. Call those who sign up to fundraise and attend your event “participants” or “heroes”. Practice your elevator speech about Dance Marathon and look for exclusionary language – and then practice swapping in inclusive language. Here is a quick sample:

Exclusive language: Dance Marathon is a student organization on our campus where you stand on your feet for 12 hours and dance for kids who can’t. 

Inclusive language: Dance Marathon is a movement that unites our campus through various events with the goal of raising money to change kids’ health and change the future through our local CMN hospital.

The Signing Gators attend Dance Marathon at University of Florida’s event ceremonies.

There are many ways a Dance Marathon program can work towards a more inclusive organization. Adding preferred pronouns to an email signature, inviting a campus American Sign Language organization to the opening and closing ceremonies to sign on stage, and asking participants if they have any restrictions or necessary accommodations during the registration process are all great places to start with inclusion.


Leadership at University of Iowa Dance Marathon list preferred pronouns in email signatures.

The most important work of all is the continual examination of our language, imagery, and practices. This work is far too important to think it could ever be complete. A consistent honest examination of the organization will ensure that Dance Marathon remains a home for all, now and always.