I arrived at Clogging Craziness Workshop on April 14 with a bad attitude. My mind was filled with (non-clogging related) worry, and I was exhausted. Despite paying in advance, I almost stayed home.
BUT... my teammate was teaching a class, I want to support clogging events in my area, and I figured a day of dance might do me good.
The Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, Ohio is ENORMOUS! It was easy to find (with help from a map app), plus the rain held off until the final ten minutes or so of the drive. Signs at the many entrances directed cloggers to the registration table. Another plus: registration folks were friendly and extremely organized!
It's a bad sign when your teammate needs a band-aid at the START of a workshop day. Dustin took care of his foot and powered through like a champ, of course!
In my stressed-out state, I was less of a champ at dealing with frustrations during this workshop.
The schedule was the main culprit, making all the other issues worse. Classes began every 45 minutes with NO transition time, meaning classes were actually less than 45 minutes. Need to use the restroom? Gotta miss part of the teaching for that. Wanna chat with fellow participants about the dance you just learned? Make it quick, or you'll both be late.
Poor acoustics in the advanced/intermediate+ gym compounded the difficulties of short class times. It looked impressive, with an overlook from the indoor walking/running path above, but sound echoed all over the place. It was tough to understand the instructors, and trying to follow the beat of the music was even more challenging. I even had trouble following the music of familiar fun dances in here. The gym did contain a nice stage for the workshop, making it easy to see the teachers.
The other downstairs studio had the opposite problem: great sound and poor visibility when crowded. The wood floor in here was lovely, but the lack of a stage meant only the first couple rows of dancers could see the instructor. (I did have a good experience in this room later in the day when the class size was smaller.) There was also an upstairs studio with a focus on beginner classes, which I did not see.
The nearby restroom, a one-seater, was constantly occupied. Walking to the other restrooms meant missing part of a teach. I didn't even take a class during the second session; by the time I used the restroom and moved from the gym to the studio, class was well underway. With no view of the instructor, catching up was not a realistic option.
After a few minutes of fuming, I spent the rest of my "wasted" class time discovering good things about the workshop, starting with the Friends of Caesar Creek Dulcimer Club! I incorrectly guessed that these talented folks played regularly at the YMCA. Turns out, they were invited by the workshop organizer. Dancing along to their rendition of "Rocky Top" lifted my spirits for the rest of the day. Thank you!
The instructors were another workshop highlight. One of the goals described by organizer Nancy Kenny was to give different instructors a chance. I took classes from Adam King, Katie O'Brien (teaching alone and with Jeigh Maynard), and my teammate Dustin Williams. Hoping to catch the other instructors at future events.
"Good Girl" with Katie O'Brien was my favorite teach of the day!
The Villalva family clogging together was adorable! Kim taught one of the afternoon workshop classes. In addition to clogging, all four Villalvas perform with a Czech/Slovak dance group.
I will never be a graceful clogger. Connie teases me about my flailing arms at every workshop. One of these days she's going to duct tape them to my sides and see if I can still dance. The answer is probably no. Today she briefly joined the dark side and threw her arm up with me. I love clogging workshop friends!
The workshop ended with a fun dance, but it didn't really end there; thorough follow-up is a MAJOR strength of this event. Participants received an email survey asking for feedback. We later received another email discussing the results and how our feedback is being implemented in the planning of the next workshop. Nancy included private links to videos of every routine taught at the workshop. Wow! Participants were also invited to join a Facebook group to stay in the loop for future events.
Congrats to Nancy on creating a new clogging event! The amount of work involved is staggering, and that's only the obvious portion; I'm sure you did a million other tasks behind the scenes that only other workshop organizers understand. Clogging Craziness will certainly spread throughout the land!
As for me, I did leave with a better attitude after stomping out some stress. Thank you to my fellow cloggers for working your magic.
Tentative dates for future Clogging Craziness Workshops include:
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Further details should be available in the Facebook clogging groups once plans are finalized.