Fancy Free Cloggers traveled to Maggie Valley, NC for our first competition of the year. Things have changed a bit since we last clogged at the Stompin’ Ground; Shindig in the Valley is now part of the United Clogging Association circuit. This means a different rule set, different group of competitors, and a new vibe.
Buckeye Country Cloggers know how to host a fun workshop AND pack it up into cute prize baskets! (More on that later.) I suspect they possess some ability to control weather, as their workshop weekend ushered in a welcome relief from sub-zero temps.
OFFICIAL COMPLAINT: If they control the weather with dance, the cue sheet is noticeably absent from my syllabus. Bummer!
Even without our fearless leader, the show went on for Fancy Free Cloggers at Hoedown Island this June. (Don’t feel bad for Evie; she was vacationing at the beach!) We trekked to Natural Bridge State Park (Slade, KY) for a cookout followed by a night of dancing.
Dollywood Clogging Classic 2018 was a big deal for Fancy Free Cloggers. Three team members danced in their first ever clogging competition, another teammate returned to competition after an absence of many years, and yet another teammate hit the competition stage again following an injury last year.
We brought with us a crowd of spectators unused to watching clogging competitions. Not just family of the new folks, mind you; the allure of Dollywood put more butts in the seats from families of our veteran cloggers as well.
Registration for the Dollywood Clogging Classic includes admission into the park for both Saturday and Sunday at a very reasonable price. Since Saturday competition was devoted to Amateur categories, Fancy Free Cloggers had a full day to roam the park!
One caveat: Laying out your tickets and then forgetting to grab them on the way out the door gets you a longer scenic drive. Ask Dustin about that, ha-ha!
The Dollywood Clogging Classic competition has a major advantage over many events because there is so much to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! My carload also found plenty to do along the way.
The Mighty Cruze departed after Molly attended a meeting for her impending high school graduation. Seriously, Molly? Get your priorities straight! DOLLY is waiting.
Cooped up cloggers in Ohio are ready to dance! Approximately 162 of us came out for the Cabin Fever workshop at Baku Grotto Hall in Mansfield. There was even a clogger from Canada in attendance! Fancy Free Cloggers brought three dancers to this event, one sporting a "spectator" armband due to a recent knee injury.
The hotel was decorated for Alice In Wonderland, but "500 Miles" felt like the real theme at NCHC Nationals over Labor Day weekend. Dancers and spectators alike met their step goals for the day!
Why? The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is ENORMOUS! Don't bother being in a hurry to get anywhere. Just enjoy the experience; there is plenty to see while you figure out where stuff is.
Lesson learned. Do NOT hesitate to book your hotel room for a clogging competition or workshop!
My team will be attending the NCHC National Clogging Competition in September. It will take place at the Opryland Hotel! Of course, there are discount hotel rates for cloggers. Of course, there are limitations on those discounts.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The Florida Clogging Festival took place at Osceola Heritage Park.
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!
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...
While I enjoy clogging at fall festivals in general, I have a special love of the quirky ones. The kind where people watching is every bit as fun as the sanctioned events. Mothman Festival in West Virginia tops my list!
This show isn't even my team's gig; Riverside Cloggers (our "sister team") hails from Point Pleasant, and they always invite Fancy Free Cloggers to join one of their performances. Please keep inviting us!
Those healthy enough and lucky enough to compete as cloggers into adulthood know that the game changes with time. (Not necessarily a bad thing.) Here are 10 signs that may indicate you are THERE:
10. All costumes must be planned around your most supportive bra - no exceptions!
9. On competition day, the timing of your Aleve/Tylenol dosage is considered crucial strategy.
My team attended Shindig In The Valley clogging competition last weekend. In addition to some awards and great memories, I walked away with a few observations:
1. NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT FINDING BOBBY PINS/SAFETY PINS. THEY ARE ALL OVER THE DRESSING ROOM FLOOR!
I am the person on my team who packs EVERYTHING in her clogging bag. Need duct tape, shoe polish, band-aids, a granola bar? Sure, it's in there! However, once each team cycled through a costume change, it was unnecessary to dig in the bag. The carpet was covered in discarded bobby pins and safety pins!
Last Saturday was my clogging team's annual trek to Natural Bridge State Park in Slade, KY. This park is home to Hoedown Island, billed in the park brochure as the "clogging capitol of Kentucky."
Hoedown Island (actually a peninsula) is host to dancing every Saturday night during the season.
The drive home from my friend's beginner clogging class Monday night was terrible! It was pouring rain AND the road is under construction in multiple places (lines not really visible, including the center line, long waits at a traffic light where the road is down to a single lane, no streetlights to help visibility). Driving along at a snail's pace, tense and hunched over, trying to see the road, silently cursing oncoming big trucks who throw water all over my windshield, I thought about the miles driven in the name of clogging: