BOONE – Showcasing a wealth of talent and enthusiasm, an ensemble of High Country dancers will represent North Carolina on the national stage during the presidential inauguration on January 20.
The High Country Cloggers participate in “Parade Across America,” a virtual celebration that takes place during the Presidential Inauguration and will feature performances from communities in all 56 US states and territories.
According to Amber Hendley, director of High Country Dance Studio, the cloggers are thrilled to be able to share their talents on such a big stage, unlike any other they have performed on before.
“They’re so excited they can’t believe they can be a part of something like this,” Hendley said. “It’s not so much a question of political position, it’s that we like to obstruct ourselves. So now we can show the world what we love to do on a national platform, which is great. “
Dubbed North Carolina’s oldest tourist attraction, Watauga County’s famous Blowing Rock served as the backdrop for the High Country Cloggers’ pre-recorded performance. Working with the producers of the events via Zoom, a videographer from the College of Art and Design of Savannah and a little help from Blowing Rocks Mayor Charlie Sellers, the dance group captured on film the essence of the High Country by combining the musical culture of the Appalachians with the natural beauty of the region.
“I was trying to figure out where our best location would be and everything worked out. I went and asked Charlie if we could play and sure enough he said ‘absolutely’, ”said Hendley. “He made his team clear so that we could have this magnificent setting. “
Founded over 25 years ago by Hendley’s mother, Vanessa Minton, the High Country Dance Studio has served not only as a creative outlet for the region’s youth, but also as a vehicle to build trust and create links with the community. The tradition of patching has been passed down to Hendley from her mother and is a legacy she hopes to continue to share with others in the future.
“It’s much more than performing on stage; it’s building their confidence, it’s building relationships, it’s building lifelong friendships. Some of my best friends are girls I danced with when I was 5 or 6, ”said Hendley. “Clogging being the dance of the state of North Carolina and also the High Country and the Appalachians, it’s such an art that few can say they know how to do it. But I was fortunate enough to learn how to do it thanks to my mother and this commitment.
The High Country Cloggers will share their bit of High Country culture alongside other virtual performances by groups such as the New York Fire Department and EMS Emerald Society Pipes and Drums representing New York State, the Chinese Cultural Arts Center representing Delaware. and the MA Foreign War Veterans Honor Guard representing Massachusetts.