Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Ankle Breaker

The Folk School Cloggers

Chatter and Chitter have been clogging for over 5 years-that’s a lot of watching for me. I swear sometimes I think I could do the routines because I’ve seen them so many times. Especially the ones that have been around since they first started. I enjoy the team’s clogging whether its the weekly practice or a highly anticipated performance. I love it all.

Clogging saved my life one time. Well not really, but kinda.

Several years ago I was going through a particularly rough patch of life. Every Monday afternoon for two hours I could loose myself in the too loud music, the stomping feet, the smiling faces and the camaraderie that’s always there. No one at practice knew about my troubles so I could pretend they didn’t exist. I could pretend I was still part of the happy world. Sounds crazy I know, but single basics, rocking chairs, fancy doubles, and mountain goats beat out the song that told me things would eventually be alright. And they were.

There really isn’t anything about clogging that I don’t like, but there is one thing that makes me cringe. Like when you watched Evil Kenevil jump his motorcycle? You had to watch, but at the same time you wanted to close your eyes too.

You can see it in the photo above-see Chitter with the red bandanna on? She’s in the process of doing an ankle breaker. That’s really the name of the step and it really looks like their ankles are going to break. But hey don’t and its super cool. Just like Evil Kenevil.

Think you could do an ankle breaker?



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  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Don’t enter me either but I love to watch people clog. It amazes me how good they are and how much in sinc they are. I used to go watch all the time at the festivals and loved it.

  • Reply
    Leon Pantenburg
    September 16, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Is that where old good-luck wish for performers came from? Break a leg??? That ankle breaker move seems too appropriately named!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I’ll never know why clogging isn’t more popular than what it is. I love watching it, and always wished I knew how to do it!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 16, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I love watching folks clog-watch being the operative word. Sadly, I have zero talent, but all artists must have their fans! I can relate to losing yourself in the music and the dance, also. Way back in the day when I was going thru my own rough patch, I felt very fortunate to have a job at a bluegrass venue. I just got lost in the work, the music, and the dancing. Looking back, I think it probably preserved what little sanity I have left! Sorry I will be out of town during the festival, but I know those beautiful girls will do you proud(as long as they don’t break an ankle).

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Soooooo wish I live closer. Would love to see that, but no way I could find time to make my way from West Virginia to your area in North Carolina, so alas, no can do. Enjoy! I think it is a wonderful wholesome thing for your girls to be a part of. And in my book, anything heritage/history is wonderful.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I love to watch people clogging, but I would never have been able to do it, even 50 years ago! I’d have a broken ankle for real!
    Since I don’t live close, just leave my name out.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

    As was told to me by my parents
    no one gets through this old world
    without some pain. You’ve got a
    wonderful family. Now, when are we
    going to get a sample of you
    singing with Paul and Pap? I think
    we’d all enjoy that! Looking forward to the Fall Festival in

  • Reply
    Sherie Rowe
    September 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I am a dancer and often lose myself in the dance! I am so hoping to be able to attend the festival(and possibly meet you!)

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    September 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Tipper, thanks for sharing the story of how dancing got you out of the ‘pit’ of depression. I think a lot of us can relate to a time when something kept us sane, whether its dancing or quilting or whatever. My hub and I have talked about coming to the festival (it’s about 4.5 hours for us) but we won’t be sure until closer to the time, so don’t enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Ah the magical power of dance! So glad clogging was there for you when you needed it, and I think it is wonderful that Chitter and Chatter are growing up with the same healing connection to our glorious culture! (While I’d love to attend, please do not enter me in the contest, Ohio is a bit too far away.)And yes, I think I would attempt the ankle-breaker, but only after thorough instruction! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim @ Stuff could....
    September 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I have fond memories of my grandparents clogging! Really a neat dance

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    September 15, 2011 at 9:03 am

    All those hours of going to practices and watching and being there for them pays off Tipper. You and the Deer Hunter have raised two fine girls.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I did that same step one time but it wasn’t as cool, I was playing football not clogging, I won a pair of crutches for six weeks. I would love to win a pair of tickets to the festival since October 1 is my lovely bride’s thirty forth anniversary of putting up with me and she loves Mountain Crafts so I intend to treat her to a day at the Fall Festival instead of going hunting. I know that’s big of me but bless her heart she deserves it for putting up with me. Keep the memories alive and I hope to meet you at the Festival.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I have heard of the JCCFS for years and If I lived in your area, I’d would go there whenever possible.
    You were saying that when you were having a bad time you could go there and lose yourself in the things they were doing. It is really amazing how some things (no matter how unlikely) can assuage ones troubles if only
    temporarily. Having the ability to know this beforehand is half the battle.
    YES, I am sure I could do an ankle breaker but, it would probably break my ankle and I would probably have to have my entire leg amputated later!

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    September 15, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Chitter seems to be the only one doing that move correctly.,.,I do not see another girl with their ankle as far into that position as she has. Yay to Chitter… as long as she doesn’t REALLY break it~

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Never, I am really uncoordinated. Having watched the girls dance I feel nothing but admiration for their quick footedness. Please remember I will not be in town so don’t enter me in the drawing.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Tipper, I remember the tough time that you went through. It really was a big challenge to who you are and you walked through it with grace and integrity coming out the other side stronger, wiser and better in all respects. Tempered by the fire, so to speak!
    I wonder of it occurs to the “namer” of the ankle breaker step that they might be tempting fate.
    I have to say that picture of Chitter gives me the willies!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

    What a joy it is to watch one’s child in the pursuit of their own artistic adventures.
    You are highly blessed.

  • Reply
    Marie Gunther
    September 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I would probley break several bones if I tried a move like that. I always enjoy watching all of the dancers at the Folk School Fall Fest though : )

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I’m sure clogging and Evil Knievel have not been compared very many times…

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