Brother, sister duo bring swing dance to San Marcos

Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Within three weeks, an arbitrary idea between brother and sister became a weekly dance event working toward the betterment of the San Marcos community.

San Marcos Swing Night launched its inaugural event Sept. 14 at the Price Center. Ilana Hager, interdisciplinary studies senior, said swing-dancing lessons are held every Monday night at 7 p.m. before the actual event begins at 8 p.m.

Ilana Hager said she and her brother, Jon Hager, decided to start a local swing dancing association similar to those in Gruene and Austin.

“My brother and I love to swing dance and we’ve always kind of lamented that there’s not a good swing dance opportunity here in San Marcos,” Ilana Hager said. “There’s swing and country dance organizations in places like Gruene and Austin, but we wanted to start something a little closer to home.”

Ilana Hager said she utilized connections with family friends at the Price Center to get the idea for the event off the ground.

“We’re family friends with the Jagers, who are in charge of the Price Center, so we called them up to see if we could get something like this started, and here we are,” Ilana Hager said.

After the Hagers had the idea and reached out to the Price Center, only two weeks passed before the first San Marcos Swing Night opened to the public.

Ilana Hager said the event has a lot to offer students and members of the community.

“San Marcos Swing Night is a place for people of all ages to come and just have a good time through swing and country dancing,” Ilana Hager said. “It’s a place where people can come learn or improve on swing styled dancing.”

Ilana Hager said no dance training is required to attend the event, but the group does offer dance lessons that rotate between four dance styles each week.

Beginning week one, Ilana Hager said instructors start with the basic swing dance, then move to two-stepping, then the Lindy Hop and finally finish with the Charleston.

Ilana Hager said she considers the event to be a platform that allows students and community residents to come together and bond over dancing.

“Swing Night is a really good way to tie the San Marcos community with the university community,” Ilana Hager said. “I’m from San Marcos and am also a Texas State student and the two worlds never seem to fully correspond with each other much, so I see this as a way to unite both worlds.”

Clay DeStefano, executive director of the Price Center, said he’s been working toward expanding the center’s programming by making it a place for multigenerational activities.

“Throughout the years we’ve been gradually leaning away from strictly senior citizen events and incorporating something for all ages,” DeStefano said. “Our name has even changed from the Price Senior Center to just the Price Center.”

DeStefano said San Marcos Swing Night is a great example of the type of events the center strives to host.

“The Price Center aims towards events and activities that bring people together and are physically, mentally, emotionally and socially stimulating,” DeStefano said. “And the San Marcos Swing Night is a great representation of that.”

Stephen Jennings, San Marcos Swing Night dance instructor, said the event is the perfect way for people to let loose with their fellow San Martians.

“Dancing is known for its ability to get your mind off the stresses of everyday life,” Jennings said. “What better way to de-stress than with a handful of your neighbors?”

Follow Sarah Bradley on Twitter @sarah_bradskies.