By Tabby Hardman

Five…Six…Five, six, seven, eight!

This is the sound that rings around the Johnson Center Dance Studio every Thursday night between 7:30 and 11 p.m. as the George Mason Swing Dance Club is fully immersed in practice.

Maryam Sodeifi, a 24-year-old senior and Sociology major from Burke, Va., founded the club in 2009 having been inspired by a high school photography class project.  “I researched a photographer who took pictures of dancers in the Jazz Age—that’s where I discovered swing dance,” she says.

She decided to create the club so that people could find friends who dance together.

“I wanted to be able to walk around campus and run into students I dance with, I wanted it to be a social thing too,” said Sodeifi. “It’s about going out and meeting people and connecting through dance, some people come to class to relieve stress, some to simply dance, and some to get dates, it’s whatever you want to get out of it.”

Sydney Bernstein-Miller, a 20-year-old sophomore who’s double majoring in Communications and English from Richmond, Va., joined because she wanted to connect better with George Mason, “I had done ballet for ten years and I wanted a way to make friends and get involved so I thought Swing Dance Club would be a good way of doing that.”

Every week the group goes to a social dance in either the Baltimore or Washington D.C. area. “A lot of dances are Friday and Saturday nights in D.C., and every first Friday of the month we participate in a social dance at the Mobtown Ballroom in Baltimore which is a lot of fun and takes place at an old renovated church,” said Sodeifi.

At the end of the day it’s all about fun and anyone who wants to join is able to, “Our goal is to help people become good social dancers and enjoy themselves at the same time,” said Sodeifi.