Q&A: Hannah Rogers, Swing Dancing Society president

<p>Photo by Katie Grieze</p>

Photo by Katie Grieze

During the second semester of her freshman year of college, Hannah Rogers walked the aisles of an activity fair. A table with people practicing dance moves intrigued her. Now a senior at Ball State majoring in studio art and psychology, Rogers leads the Swing Dancing Society on campus. The club has around 25 regular members and welcomes new dancers all the time.

Q: When did you first get interested in dance?

A: My mom always hated dance, but I defied her. She thought the outfits would be too revealing. I had to prove to her that dance is not a sexualized thing: It’s just fun and exercise. I mainly did theatrical and show choir dancing in high school, with a little bit of hip hop and jazz.

Q: Why did you join Swing Dancing Society?

A: The club is full of accepting people, and it was a nice change from the more choreographed dancing I used to do. Sometimes people are sitting and talking and connecting. Other times they’re dancing. Once you’ve learned the sequences and you’re doing it for the social part, it’s just fun.

Q: Can you think of any one moment that has been your favorite part of being in swing dancing?

A: Oh my. There have been lots of good moments. But the best was probably the first time I travelled and realized how many other people swing dance. It wasn’t just a small group at Ball State.

Q: Which dance genre is your favorite?

A: Swing is my first love in dance. It’s more fluid and there’s more room to say what you want and to dance with other people. There’s less pressure because there’s less choreography. Mainly I do a style called Lindy Hop, which is difficult because it’s the most fast-paced and structured. But it’s probably the most fun.

Q: Does your interest in a career of mental health counseling tie into your dance life at all?

A: A little bit. Being perceptive of people helps me know how to approach them when they’re having trouble in their dancing. I’m also going to graduate school for creative arts therapy, so I can integrate swing dancing into my therapy practice.

Q: How does swing dancing affect your mental health?

A: It’s good! It keeps endorphins going because you’re exercising. It’s also a nice escape from everyday responsibilities.

Q: How has the organization influenced you and your college experience?

A: It pushed me out of my comfort zone. I used to just sit and watch people instead of asking them to dance with me. But it’s fun to be in that atmosphere because you almost feel like you’ve switched time periods.

The Ball State Swing Society meets on Mondays from 7-9 p.m. in the Rec Center, room 200B. Beginners are always welcome.

This content was created by Muncie Faces, an immersive learning class publication exploring new topics for student media. Find more stories at https://www.instagram.com/munciefaces/