Despite the dreary Saturday weather, Redbird Arena had the energy of a men’s basketball playoff game for Chi Omega’s 42nd annual March Madness dance competition.
Opening up with a “Grease” themed dance routine, the women of Chi Omega set the stage for the rest of the evening.
The theme of the philanthropy event was “Night at the Cinema.” Each fraternity and sorority involved would perform a dance routine featuring music from a film or related to a film.
The Rho Kappa chapter at Illinois State University has raised over $314,000 since partnering with Make-A-Wish in 2002. March Madness Chairwoman Shania Scurlock said this year’s goal was to surpass $50,000, which was raised last year.
“We did fundraisers at Panera Bread, Chipotle and Blaze Pizza, but we won’t know how much we raised until a week later,” she said. “We raised $50,000 last year, so our goal was to beat that amount.”
A family touched by Make-A-Wish and the Rho Kappa chapter was presented to the audience. The family had surprise triplets, one of which continues to have health implications even in the third grade. A medical staff is always at hand within their household.
With the aid of Make-a-Wish and Rho Kappa, the family was able to take a trip to Walt Disney World, something they thought would be impossible.
The featured event arrived, the lights went down and “Sirius” by the Alan Parsons Project echoed through the arena to introduce the emcees of the evening.
A now bumbling crowd was loud, energetic and ready for the start of the show.
The night opened with Delta Upsilon’s routine based on the hit franchise “Fast & Furious.”
Following “Fast & Furious,” the audience was taken on a journey through films such as “Burlesque,” “Space Jam,” “Hairspray,” “Rocky” and “The Greatest Showman.”
“Obviously Chi Omega was my favorite [performance], but I liked them all,” Abby Simpson of Chi Omega said. “All are unique, and it’s fun to watch it all.”
During intermission, Chicago Cubs tickets, autographed Chicago Blackhawks gear and more was given away in a raffle.
Every group supported the other groups and cheered each other on despite it being a competition. There was a true sense of connection within the Greek community.
“[My favorite part of the process] was the sisterhood of gathering at the house prior to the show,” Alexis Lowenbein of Gamma Phi Beta said. “It took about two and a half months to put this together.”
“Alpha Delta Phi was phenomenal,” Lowenbein said. “All of the girls had great facial expressions, costumes and great formations.”
At the end of the night, sororities and fraternities won first, second and third place, each with a respective cash prize. First place winners received $300, second place won $200 and third place took home $100.
The women of Delta Zeta, Alpha Gamma Delta and Zeta Tau Alpha won first, second and third place, respectively. Acacia, Alpha Sigma Phi and Sigma Nu fraternity members won first, second and third place, respectively.
The brotherhood and sisterhood of the event carried on well into the night. There was never a dull moment within the nearly sold out stadium.