Sunday, December 5, 2021

Born to run (and strut): UW student creates art with endurance in mind

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After running a marathon, Dan Van Note took off his athletic shoes and put on a pair of seven-inch heels as part of his lifelong performing arts project, “Endurance Queen.”


Jacqueline Kehoe


By Erin Gretzinger, Exclusive to Cap Times

As it rained in Madison on October 11, Indigenous People’s Day, 29-year-old Dan Van Note stood at the corner of Wilson Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was drenched head to toe. Wearing an all black and white baseball cap, Van Note looked down and stuck out his tongue in exhaustion.

He had completed a 26-mile-long independent marathon in four hours after recovering from a successful COVID case just a few days back. But instead of falling to the ground at the finish line, Van Note took off his sneakers.

And wear seven-inch heels.

With his feet trembling, Van Note stretched the length of three football fields down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Capital Steps up. Through breathlessness and trembling calves, Van Note managed a smile while striking a pose.

“Well, these,” he said, pointing to his clear, plastic heel, “much better than last year.”

This wasn’t the first time a Maine native had performed this routine. He has four rounds down and 22 more to go.



dan van note 2

Dan van Note, a UW-Madison graduate student, completes his runway walk for the Capitol as part of his 2021 performance of “Endurance Queen.”


Erin Gretzinger


a matter of perseverance

Van Note, a second year student of the master’s in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Interdisciplinary Theater Studies program, has made a 26-year-long commitment to completing an annual marathon, followed by a runway walk in heels on his weary feet. He does all this in the name of a performance art he calls the “endurance queen,” which seeks to make others consider the point of perseverance in the face of difficulty.

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