Who does the choreography for your clogging team? For Fancy Free Cloggers, it varies. We use routines learned at workshops (often with minor tweaks, such as cutting the music). We also have routines choreographed by a single team member. However, the dances we seem to love best are those we create as a team.
Things were going so smoothly at FFC Studio! Recent rehearsals significantly improved our competition routines in preparation for NCHC Nationals in Nashville this weekend.
For once, Fancy Free Cloggers started the final practice without a list of last-minute changes in response to an injury or other emergency. We even finished competition stuff EARLY and started reviewing routines for an upcoming show with our friends the Riverside Cloggers!
Once a team dances a clogging routine for a while, it's easy to overlook the components of the routine. Case in point: It took WEEKS for Fancy Free Cloggers competition team to realize we had not one, but THREE ripples in our open line!
FFC attends competitions sanctioned by different clogging organizations. The categories and rules vary for each, but our competition routines generally work for all with minor tweaks.
As cloggers, we learn to tune it out: The noise, the chatter, the clatter, the taps, the sweat, the cues, the movement, the music...
No wonder our family members sometimes experience overload when sitting in the studio as spectators!
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!
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!
Why is it that certain clogging steps NEVER start on the right foot? It isn't a matter of difficulty; advanced cloggers are expected to perform pullbacks bilaterally, but most will hesitate when asked to perform these easier steps on the opposite foot!
Next dance class, challenge your teammates to give these steps a try on the right:
Clogging feels awesome! I am bouncy and energetic and full of confidence as I make lots of noise with my taps! THEN, someone displays photos or video of my performance and ruins it all...
Okay, it doesn't really ruin things; it helps you perform better in the future. It's just SO awkward and painful in the moment.
Today's clogging vocabulary review shines light on something we all must do to become better: PRACTICE! Synonyms include rehearse, train, work on, prepare.
My formal definition:
Practice (verb): The act of repeating a clogging step, routine, or portion thereof in order to improve one's skill.
Face it: there is a limit to how many clogging steps/routines a person can absorb at once.
I find this fact to be particularly annoying during workshops. "Afternoon fog" is a term bandied about to describe the phenomenon. Basically, your mental fatigue and physical fatigue combine to make a step sequence or entire routine WAY more difficult than it would normally be.
How does a clogger explain a step without video or demonstration? Step notation! A common synonym is step breakdown.
Here's my official definition:
Step notation (noun): A written method of describing clogging steps, so that a dancer can learn the step from scratch or recall the step later.
We’ve all been there: Practice is not even close to over. There are still 5 more songs to go in the show. Sweat drips down your forehead into your eyeballs. You are drained.
How does a clogger keep up the energy and get it done?
We love our clogging steps! Unlike the way it works with cats or children, it is perfectly acceptable to have a favorite clogging step or two.
Here are a few of mine:
Most cloggers have a folder or a pile or at least a stack of today's vocabulary word: cue sheet. Synonyms include step list, caller's sheet, cuesheet, cheat sheet.
Here's my formal definition:
Christmas/New Year's break is almost over! It will soon be time to return to dance class!
Don't know about you, but I'm expecting to feel a little rusty.
While my studio took only two weeks off (I guess it's technically three, since the last class before Christmas was our awards banquet), we were focused on routines for Christmas shows leading up to the break.
Today's vocabulary lesson covers a phrase heard at every clogging studio: one more time. A common synonym is again. This phrase is often referred to as the biggest lie in clogging.
Let's add to our clogging vocabulary! Today's word is a verb, often uttered as a plea, common in clogging classes everywhere: call it. Synonym: cue it.
My official definition is as follows:
Call it (verb): The act of saying the next steps in a clogging routine aloud, generally about 2 beats before the step is to be performed, in order to allow cloggers in the process of learning said routine to get through the dance or a section of the dance for practice purposes.
Yes, it's still October - time to start rehearsals for Christmas performances!
While the general public may not think about Christmas shows until after Thanksgiving, performers need time to prepare!
We've got to find and make adjustments to music, figure out costumes, learn choreography and formations. All this as personal schedules become progressively more packed with holiday obligations!