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!

Dancin' on Sunshine: Florida Clogging Festival 2017, PART THREE

In this final installment of the Florida Clogging Festival story, we discuss the adventures of the Fancy Free Cloggers at the fair and the competition itself! Previous posts discuss our trip from Ohio to Florida for the event and my experience attending the workshop.

Saturday Fair

The Florida Clogging Festival took place at Osceola Heritage Park. 

Dancin' on Sunshine: Florida Clogging Festival 2017, PART TWO

Camron Thompson's professional photos of the Florida Clogging Festival are all over Facebook this week! He managed to beautifully capture the moods and moments of teams and individual dancers throughout the competition day.

Let's back it up to the morning and talk about the workshop that took place before competition!

Dancin' on Sunshine: Florida Clogging Festival 2017, PART ONE

Fancy Free Cloggers became snowbirds for the weekend as we traveled to the Florida Clogging Festival! We admit to texting a few smug photos to friends and family - it was 22 degrees back home when we took the competition stage! As usual, the trip was an adventure, and we have many stories to share...

Cabin Fever Clogging Workshop 2017!

Happy days (and clogging workshops) are here again!  Once the flurry of activities to begin a new year settles down, clogging workshops are a welcome excuse to get out and dance!

My first workshop for 2017 was Cabin Fever, hosted by the Buckeye Country Cloggers! This workshop relocated a short distance to Mansfield, OH for a bit more space after packing the school gym in Bellville, OH last year. Not sure where it will be next year after filling this new venue, too!

National Popcorn Day, clogger style!

There seems to be a "National Day" for everything! Normally, I don't care (unless it relates to cats or to me having an excuse for a good dinner...). However, when the National _____ Day unintentionally refers to a clogging step, I'm on board!

TODAY, January 19, is National Popcorn Day! If you know the popcorn step, feel free to randomly display 8 counts of fun throughout the day! If you don't know the popcorn step, what better day to learn?! 

Clogger's Dictionary: Team spirit (noun)

Everybody is familiar with today's vocabulary term: team spirit! It's not all hootin' and hollerin' and wearing a funny hat. Some aspects of team spirit require more work than that. 

A basic definition:

Team spirit (noun): Feelings of cooperation, respect, and/or friendship which allow group members to work together for the greater good of the team as opposed to the good of any individual member. Group members who possess a great deal of team spirit are known as team players, and these folks are critical to the success of a clogging team.  Indirect team members, such as fans and family, can also have team spirit.

New year, new clogging goals!

Happy new year, cloggers! While it is appropriate to take stock of where you are and where you want to be all year long, the new year just begs for a little self-reflection. When my clogging team returned to classes on Tuesday after a holiday break, many teammates were willing to share their clogging goals for 2017. (Thanks!) 

If you are still determining goals for the new year, you may find some inspiration here!

Twelve days of clogging!

Here we are, enjoying the 12 days of Christmas (December 25 - January 5). My true love gave me a new guitar, which is a nice upgrade from my starter guitar. I don't need any gifts for the other days of Christmas, but would like to show appreciation for the gifts that clogging gives to me!