SHEENA BARNETT: Dance event provides chance to learn

Sheena Barnett

Sheena Barnett

Raise your hand if you knew Mississippi has a Clogging Council, or for that matter, an annual Clogging Extravaganza?

No worries if your hand is down, because until this year, I didn’t know it, either.

I went with my clogging group, the Country Cloggers from Amory, to the eighth annual extravaganza this weekend.

I thought I’d already unlocked most of the Clogging Experience stickers, since my clogging group in high school spent years performing, attending weekly practices, learning the importance of duct tape and mastering tricky steps.

But this weekend taught me I’d only had a little bit of the clogging experience.

The extravaganza was Friday and Saturday in Brookhaven, with several other teams both from Mississippi and outside the state in attendance.
Friday night was the freestyle competition – another first for me. Dancers, divided by age, performed 32-count (trust me, that’s very short) freestyle routines. I tied for second in the 30-39 age category, and I’m told the tie is a first in the state competition’s eight-year history. For that being my first freestyle battle, that’s an ending I’ll happily take.

I was proud of my fellow Country Cloggers, as we all placed in our competitions, with one of us even tying for second overall.
Saturday was full of work.

Michigan-based National Clogging instructor Shane Gruber and several other instructors led us through an entire day of workshops, from beginner to advanced. In seven hours, we learned seven routines to everything from “Everything About You” by One Direction to “Pontoon” by Little Big Town to “We Found Love” by Rihanna.

My legs have ached since, and it was a ton of work, but I had a blast.

The council gives away two awards at the end of the extravaganza: an Ugly Shoes award for the most team members present, and a Best Spirit award for the team that was the most excited and helpful.

I’m super proud to say the Country Cloggers took home both awards.

I’m still tired from this weekend and my legs are exhausted, but I’ll still be at practice tonight.

After all, we’re dancing at the state fair in October, and we have a two-hour set to fill.

That’s another thing I’ve never done – a two-hour performance set.

My legs are kind of wincing at the thought, but I’m up to the challenge.

Maybe we can show off some of these new moves we learned this weekend.

And it’s another step on the way to next year’s extravaganza.

Contact SHEENA BARNETT at sheena.barnett@journalinc.com.