Clogging Connection in the Big Apple!

Clogging Connection brought Florida sunshine and impressive dance skills to the 11th Annual Dance Parade and Festival in New York City on May 20.

This parade began as a response to a New York Supreme Court case in 2006, which upheld an antiquated Cabaret Law from the 1920s, stating that social dancing is not a protected form of expression. The parade begins with a minute of silence for those around the world who cannot dance. This year's parade theme was "Dance for Peace."

Home Sweet Studio!

My youngest nephew hopped on a plane from the Sunshine State to the Buckeye State last week for a visit with Aunt Sheila Jo and Uncle Handsome Gentleman. Yes, you read that correctly: he LEFT the land of Disney for vacation!

Having out-of-state family around always makes me appreciate my local area more. Things I take for granted because they're always around become special again when viewed through other eyes.

It's a banner day for this veteran clogger!

"I'm on a pole!" This was the announcement made by Jim Kimmerly, my 94-year-old clogging teammate, when he arrived at dance class shortly after Memorial Day. The real kicker: He wasn't kidding!

What's on the soundtrack to your clogging life?

Everything has a soundtrack; why not your clogging life? After much debate, I came up with mine. It dates me, and I care not one bit! Curious to see what others come up with. 

8. Walking On Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)

This song SCREAMS happy! Reminds me of how a new clogger feels, falling in love with the dance. You do double toes EVERYWHERE - the grocery store, school hallways, the gas station, whatever.

(I did a quick search for my 5th or 6th grade clogging picture to add here, but was unable to locate it. Will post later if it turns up.)

Good clogging jeans?

With summer weather comes outdoor festival season for cloggers. Commence happy dance! Many teams, Fancy Free Cloggers included, opt for denim and team tee shirts for such shows.

While it may not be as flashy as other costumes, this outfit comes with distinct advantages: 

1. No pantyhose!

Grace is NOT my middle name...

While Grace is a lovely name, my mama was wise enough NOT to bestow it upon this clumsy clogger...

At Melissa Pack's teach of "Old Time Pickin' " (advanced traditional with buck), I managed to slice my lower shin with a heel tap. Close examination of the cue sheet reveals no such move in the choreography.

Friendly competition at the World of Clogging Championships!

Yes, I am an adult who competes in clogging. One problem with this is a shortage of adult teams. While performing in front of other cloggers and getting feedback from judges is always helpful, it isn't exactly impressive to display a bunch of trophies you won because you were the ONLY team in your age division...

This was not the case at the World of Clogging Championships in Cincinnati, OH this weekend! Clogging Premier from Minnesota gave Fancy Free Cloggers excellent competition all day long.

Good sportsmanship is alive and well in the clogging world!

The dressing room of a clogging competition is a crowded, hectic place. Costume pieces flung about during quick changes, bobby pins and safety pins everywhere, dancers making sure they have every piece of the next costume on, a crowd around the mirror, and the smell of hairspray in the air...

The dressing room is also a place to make new friends, and frequently, to witness acts of good sportsmanship.

Costumes hangin' on the line: Dollywood Clogging Classic 2017, PART TWO

Sometimes, a dancer just has to take one for the team. I saw examples of this all day long at the Dollywood Clogging Classic, starting with my own director.

Evie opened her garment bag at Sunday's competition and was surprised to discover a wet costume on top. She dug through the bag to find every costume soaked. Remember how it rained all day Friday and Saturday? Apparently, Evie's car had a leaky trunk!

Dancin' at Dolly's house: Dollywood Clogging Classic 2017, PART ONE

Fancy Free Cloggers were on the road again last weekend with a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to compete in the Dollywood Clogging Classic! Added bonus: Dolly was in town!!!

I had the pleasure of making this road trip with Jim, our 94-year-old clogger. He is a hoot! We of course sang the chorus of "Rocky Top" when we passed those exits. (I suspect Jim turned off his hearing aids when this happened...) We also made a game of counting Cracker Barrel restaurants; they are EVERYWHERE as you approach the Pigeon Forge area!

Clogging lets my feet do the singing! (You're welcome, world...)

True story: I am SUCH a bad singer, a receptionist at work once created an office rule that I was not allowed to sing. An accompanying rule stated that she was not allowed to dance...

This lack of talent in no way stops me from singing terribly in the car, so beware if we ever carpool! It does, however, give me a great appreciation for the singing talents of others. Last weekend, my schedule was filled with music!

This clogger means business!

Sessilie Tackett, clogger with Rhythmic Alliance, means business both on and off the dance floor! This award-winning dancer is the creator of Custom Designs By Sessilie, providing unique apparel options for cloggers.

 I met Sessilie a couple years ago at the Stompin' Grounds (Maggie Valley, NC), where she was tearing up the competition during Shindig in the Valley. It has been a delight to watch her business grow (Thank you, social media!).

NINETY-FOUR and still on the dance floor: Happy Birthday, Jim!

Close your eyes and picture a birthday party for a 94-year-old. Done? Okay, open your eyes.

In your mind, did the birthday boy drive to his clogging studio, strut inside amidst a "king's highway" formed by applauding teammates, and spend the evening eating cake and dancing? 

Nope, this is not one of those annoying "you don't know AARP" commercials; this is real life at Fancy Free Clogging Studio!

What clogging step were you most proud to master?

It's probably not the most difficult or showy step you know, but I bet there was a clogging step along the way that made you feel like you arrived as a dancer. The one you practiced nonstop until it was mastered. 

For me, this step was the buck basic. Oddly, I clogged for years before knowing this step existed!

Time to Disco: Smoky Mountain Encore!

Smoky Mountain Encore Clogging Workshop is worth the drive from Ohio to Tennessee! Or the flight from Florida, or the drive/flight from Canada! 

Not only do you get the chance to enjoy Gatlinburg, you have up to ten classes to choose from at any given time during the workshop! 

Naomi Fleetwood-Pyle taught an intermediate-level routine to Carrie Underwood's "Dirty Laundry."  If you did not take this class, pull out your syllabus NOW and read part C of Naomi's cue sheet! 

Smoky Mountain Encore Clogging Workshop: disco and clogging and bears, oh my!

If the combination of disco costumes, clogging, and the Smoky Mountains is wrong, I don't wanna be right! I'm totally cool with leaving out the bear, though! 

Most of my team made the drive from Ohio to Tennessee on Thursday. 'Twas a fantastic day for a drive! (Yep, JT brought sexy back; I'm bringing the word 'twas back.) 

Driving to Gatlinburg was actually my first excursion out of the house since surgery last week! My teen passenger was willing to take the wheel for a while if I needed a rest, but that wasn't necessary.  

Easy snack for clogging practice: peanut butter protein balls!

I am not a breakfast eater, certainly not a food blogger, not even a particularly good cook. However, a clogger's gotta eat! Thus is my dilemma most weekends before dance practice.

Practice starts at 1:00 (meaning I need to get there earlier to be READY by 1:00). Fancy Free Studio is about 60 miles from my house, and this clogger likes to get extra sleep on the weekends! I'll leisurely sip a mocha to wake up, which leaves me not wanting real food before it's time to leave. The granola bars I usually pack get old quick. I need SOMETHING to keep up the energy level!