Who knew Malone used to offer a dance class? Who knew it was coming back next semester? Hannah Swiger, senior exercise science major and head of Malone’s Dance Club, Break it Down, has worked with staff to create a dance class to be offered next semester.
Swiger said Break it Down was created her freshman year by Jessie Crooks. Swiger had been unaware that any dance clubs or programs were in existence when she came to Malone. However she always had plans to get something started.
“(The club) was her step and my goal was then the class,” Swiger said.
Swiger has been dancing for fourteen years and has experience in many different styles of dance including ballet, ballroom, modern and a little bit of break dancing. She joined Break it Down her freshman year and took over the club when Crooks graduated. However, she always had bigger plans in mind.
“Dance would be a great draw. I thought about not coming to Malone because it didn’t have dance,” Swiger said.
Swiger officially started talking to Dr. Friesen her sophomore year and began talking to President King and Dr. Phinney at the beginning of the year about setting up a dance class. She said she was worried that after her graduation no one would continue her dream. She wanted to get some faculty excited about dance before she left.
“It didn’t happen when I first tried it but I’m shocked that it’s actually happening next semester,” Swiger said.
The class will focus on modern dance and will be adaptable enough to suit multiple levels of ability of students. Currently, Swiger says that there are 16 students signed up for the class next semester. She hopes that dance will continue to be offered with the future options of more classes concentrating on specific types of dance. Swiger’s end goal is a dance minor.
Swiger’s specific goals for the class in the spring are “to have fun, how to use dance as worship and to hone our skills. As a Christian we should be the best in everything that we do.”
According to Dr. Tammie McKenzie, the Director of Theatre and Chair of the Communication Arts Department, a dance class was offered several years ago before the professor took a position somewhere else. The professor, Kelly Winn, has moved back into the Canton area now and will be teaching the class next semester.
McKenzie was approached about the class since she is both Director of Theatre and Chair of the Communication Arts Department. She hopes the class will carry over into choreography in the theatre productions.
“It’s really coming together. We have a president who comes from a school with a full-fledged dance program. He’s very in-tune to that and there is a lot of administration support,” McKenzie said.
Though she will not be teaching the class, McKenzie is in charge of hiring someone to teach the class, developing a syllabus and being the sponsor of the class.
“Part of the course is learning the history of dance,” McKenzie said, “and also exploring dance, mostly modern dance and a section of the course where they are taught choreography.”
The students in the class will have the opportunity to choreograph a song and, at the end of the semester, will put on a dance concert with Break it Down.
Suzanna Bregar, a sophomore history major, is taking the dance class next semester as an elective. She has been dancing for seven years and is excited to be a member of Break it Down.
“I’m excited about the class because it’s a creative way to express yourself and I’m excited to improve my dancing and learn more about it,” Bregar said.
“It’s a stress reliever for me,” she said about dance.
“I think the class is going to take off really well. And the club will do better with the dance class now. It’s a way to continue it,” Bregar said.
She said that Swiger will be missed but “it will continue well on its own.”
Kaitlyn Stump is a staff writer for The Aviso AVW.