Faculty Faces: Brigitte Rogers

BRIGETTE ROGERS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF DANCE:

I began dancing when I was three years old in the town of Centreville, Mississippi, and continued there for a couple of years until my family moved to Arkansas. So, I studied theatre and dance and it was that connection that really brought about a whole sense of the study of performance, not only dance but acting and all the elements of theatre arts in general. So, there was modern in college in that was a new thing for me, a new experience, because in ballet you're supposed to be always on center, and turned out, and aligned. Modern was the opposite you could turn in, you could release, you could go off of center, you could cry, you could laugh, you could add vocalization, you could use text. It was a theatrical style of dance that really engaged me there at Henderson and prompted me to seek the theatre B.A. degree.

I came to Hendrix in 2006 as an adjunct and then the Theatre Arts department decided to pursue a dance minor. We slowly began to develop that by developing curriculum courses first, to see if they could meet enrollment and engage the students here, which was very successful. And then, since that was so successful, then why one create a dance minor?

It’s very exciting to have a student that comes from a very experienced background and a student who is first diving into the study of dance. It's always amazing to see how they observe the more experienced students, but they're not embarrassed or lacking in confidence to study, to dance right beside each other. One is not I'm being a prima donna. It’s a supportive environment and I'm lucky that way, because of the personality of the students. One is very excited to be able to continue to dance. One is very excited to begin to study dance. So, it's exciting. I think that's a big part have the whole liberal arts experience with dance, that anyone can come into the studio, and anyone who has dance experience will still excel.

Through the Odyssey program, we've been able to go to the American College Dance Festival, and students on all levels participate in various classes that are not offered here at Hendrix. They can take anything from African fusion to another type of modern style like Limón or Horton. They also get to perform here on campus. I've had students create their own choreographic projects for Explorations. There was one student, Sara King, who did a wonderful peace on Romania and the communism in Romania. That was her senior thesis and she connected it into a choreography piece for the concert, and it was beautiful.

The dance program really enhances the liberal arts aspect at Hendrix College because they can connect their overall major or minor studies through movement.