Teamwork and Tap Shoes
This week we have a super fun video on the Her Heritage channel: Fall in Florida! Be sure to tune in!
During the fall months, my schedule is always packed with a lot of clogging! Here in Florida, we have loads of fall festivals, and even though it never quite feels like fall (80 degrees and up), and there are no fall leaves, there are plenty of pumpkins, entertainment, and fair foods to get everyone in the mood. 😉 I thought it would be fun this week on the blog to elaborate a little on my clogging experience and the life lessons it has taught me over the past ten years (wow, I feel old). 😉
First things first, what exactly is clogging? In short, it’s sort of a combination of Irish dance and tap dance, done traditionally to country music. However, you can clog to almost any kind of music, which my group fully embraces. 🙂
Let’s head back in time to 2009, and eight-year-old Grace, who wanted to join 4-H. My mom found a 4-H club that sounded promising—the Clogging Clovers. I didn’t even know what clogging was, but I was nervously excited to give it a try.
Turns out, I was the only kid there at the first practice, and the teacher was amazing! She gave me lots of one-on-one time, and although I liked her a lot, I came home crying that week because I was so scared of what would happen once other kids joined. How would I keep up with them? Well, my parents nudged me into going back one more time, and after that second practice, I never looked back. Now, I’m not saying I was a dance prodigy—far from it. 😉 I messed up my steps like crazy, and I still do that often—it’s whatcha call learning. 🙂
However, once we got some dances down pat and our group started performing, I realized what this group was giving me: a team. Clogging may not be a team sport in the traditional sense of the word, but in my opinion, it gives kids a lot of the same values. These values of a work ethic and a willingness to make sacrifices when necessary come in handy in so many areas of life—especially when it comes to being a parent or child!
I realized quickly that the more you put into your performance, the more you get out of it. Sure, it might make your cheeks hurt, but smiling the entire time that you’re dancing, and picking your feet up energetically directly transfers to making the audience happy. This is not something you can do alone. Out of a group of twenty dancers, if only one is smiling, it doesn’t do a lot of good. However, if even a couple more people pick up on the idea, the audience starts to notice—and that’s what you call a team effort. There’s something about dancing with a group as opposed to on your own in a solo that gives every single person more energy and stamina, and it’s something I’ve been experiencing firsthand for a decade.
There are a few clogging memories that are seared into my brain forever, and one of them is a Christmas practice we had that lasted until nearly midnight, only a couple of days before we had to perform. We were hardly forming comprehensive sentences, but we were getting the dance down, and nobody was complaining—because we were taking one for the team. In that way, clogging is pretty similar to any other team sport or activity.
For me, the real difference that separates clogging from other team activities emerges when you perform in front of a crowd. My favorite performances we do are on the street, not a stage, and we’re only about six or seven feet from the audience. At these kinds of shows, I let myself really cut loose with smiling and winking and generally acting goofy with the audience. That’s not to say that performing isn’t hard—because it is. When you need water and a bathroom break and you’re exhausted and at the end of your rope, it seems impossible sometimes to pick up your feet and grin at a five-year-old girl watching. But it’s worth it—because it’s for the team…and truly, you never know how much you will positively affect people with your performance.
Over the years, I’ve done some solos, and sure, they were fun. Truly, however, nothing compares to the feeling of waiting for music to start while standing beside your best friends in the world who’ve sweated, bled, and cried with you—ready to make people happy with tap shoes and teamwork.
So, to all the moms reading—if you ever get the chance to sign up your daughter for a team activity, I totally recommend it. Teamwork is one of those virtues that simply can’t be learned from a textbook, and in my humble opinion, performing in some respect is a great way to learn about it.
Thank you all for reading, and be sure to leave a comment telling us what you or your daughter’s favorite team activity is! Better yet, share with us a time that you and your mom or daughter worked as a team!