Appalachia Chatter and Chitter Folk Dancing

Today at the JCCFS Fall Festival

Kudzu kickers clogging team

I was thinking about how I wish I could take all of you along with me to the festival today and tomorrow. Most of you live way too far away to even remotely think about coming, but I still wish you could experience it with me.

Since teleporting you all to Brasstown wasn’t an option I decided I’d share a video of what the girls will be doing today at 1:20 p.m. – clogging.

Before the festival the team has its final practice at the folk school on the festival barn stage where they will actually be dancing during their performance.

Most folks are more familiar with the fast bluegrass type of clogging than the style the girls are doing in this routine. The Kudzu Kickers do a variety of clogging styles within their performances and this one is a Waltz Clog. They also do plenty of the more common style of clogging and buck dancing. Sometimes I wonder how they move their feet fast enough to keep up, but they always mange to pull it off.

Chatter and Chitter are the couple in the middle of the line. Chitter has a green shirt with writing on it and Chatter has a black shirt.

Jo Kilmer and Blind Pig Reader Gayle Larson are the coaches of the Kudzu Kickers-they both do a great job and I so appreciate them! You can see Jo in this video-she is the first in line nearest the camera with pants and a pink shirt on.

This group of five girls have danced together for years. Chatter and Chitter are the oldest of the bunch. When they all started clogging together back in the day the other girls were little enough to carry around on your hip and Chatter and Chitter weren’t much passed carrying themselves.

Us moms always laugh about how we can’t help getting teary-eyed as we watch them dance. It’s like our own private mom joke on each other.

This year it seems I’ve been more teary-eyed than usual. I might feel more emotional because Chatter and Chitter haven’t gotten to clog as much since they started college or it might be because of their recent birthday-leaving me with two adults instead of two girls.

But I believe my emotion comes from seeing five girls who through the years of clogging have grown into beautiful young women who are kind, smart, and generous. AND who’ve spent all those years keeping the folk dance of clogging alive even though doing so never made any of them the popular kid at school.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of what the girls will be doing at the festival today. Drop back by tomorrow for sneak peak of that day’s performance.


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  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    October 7, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    I’ve been on vacation so missed quite a few of your posts but I sure enjoyed seeing the girls clog. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    jane childers
    October 4, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I wonder if your girls realize how fortunate they are to be raised up in the country and having such wonderful family who loves them very much. They seem like well-rounded young ladies and doesn’t matter if they were popular in school or not. They will be popular in real life outside of high school. Go to your 50th year class reunion and the popular ones are not always the happiest ones.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, and especially Candy Davis writing about her daughter’s own clogging history. Makes me appreciate this form of dance even more 🙂

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon Hopkins
    October 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I am a tired but happy camper tonight. I live in Alpharetta but was lucky/blessed to be able to go to the JCCFS Fall Festival for the first time today. I loved every minute of the day, but the highlight was seeing the Kudzu Kickers’ in performance. What an awesome, talented group of young kids. And, Tipper, you have such beautiful girls. You can see the joy in their faces when they’re performing. Made me wish I was young again, fancy free and free of wrinkles!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    October 1, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Bittersweet moment. Lovely, talented, young women who will carry on their wonderfully rich heritage.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    October 1, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Would have enjoyed being there for the OCT. 1, 2016 event. I still remember and appreciate being able to attend their great performance a couple of years ago. Eva Nell

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Great Job. I like it. Beste wishes Fromm Germany.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you so much for thinking of your “far away” friends. Loved the video and it makes me smile. What great young ladies. It does bring a tear. More, more tomorrow. Thanks again.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I was watching the girls on You-Tube and it wears me out just watching them, they do a good job.. You mentioned it didn’t make them the popular kids in school.. I don’t see that as a bad thing under today’s standards, most so called popular / cool kids today dress half naked and look cheap.. Your Girls always dress like Young Ladies and that’s cool/popular to me.. and I’m sure to a whole lot more folks also.. and that comes from Parents who care…

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    This is why I can’t dance around like those wonderful girls. They are so blessed, able to move about with such ease. When one gets to or nearly to 76, things change a bit!
    Woke up this morning! GOOD THING!
    Felt a little cooler! GOOD THING!
    Pulled off the covers, cold! BAD THING!
    Knee hurt like the dickin’s! BAD THING!
    Made it to the bathroom! VERY GOOD THING!
    First day of October holiday month! GOOD THING!
    Old bones making friends with the cool arthritic FALL! BAD THING!
    So it returns like a wisp in the Halloween fog!
    Pinch and a punch for the first of the month everybody!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Hope you ‘all are having a great day at the festival!

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for sending the clogging video, they’re all Great! I won’t be going this year, either day, but I’ll sure miss all the events. I’ll be thinking of you all and wish you the best performances ever. Anxious awaiting to see whatever videos you can provide later. …Ken

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    When did cloggers begin using taps on their shoes? I had a friend 40 years ago who did what she called “clogging” but they wore thick soled work boot style shoes and carried a dance floor with them (sections they locked together) which had pieces underneath which raised the floor from the subfloor just enough to give them some echo and give them a little bounce to make it easier on their knees.
    I watch them and think of the similarities between clogging, irish dancing, Scottish fling or Highland Fling, Steppin’, Stomping, Step Team, – they all require athleticism, rhythm, and a willingness to syncrhonize rather than be a “star”. Although they can feature one or more performers, done right, these “dances” really help participants learn to tune in to each other for the good of the group – very important for character development – besides being just plain fun!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    October 1, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I enjoyed this so much! My son is 30 and I do miss his childhood years. Bittersweet to see them grown!

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I wish I was close by to attend the festival but alas that can’t happen so I will thank you for sharing the wonderful video. Y’all have fun!!!

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    October 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Loved the dancing and fiddling.Wished i could be there at the festival,but i can’t dance,can’t sing,and it’s too windy to haul rocks,so i will just stay home.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Schoonover
    October 1, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Tipper, they’ll always be your girls, no matter how old they are. Mine are 34 and almost 31, and I still call them my girls, and so do our friends.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Oh how I wish I was there. We’ve never been to JCCFS in the fall. Hope you post plenty of pictures.
    My blogger friend Jeri Landers from Hopalong Gazette will have a booth there. Check out her beautiful art work in both mohair stuffed animals and the children books she writes and illustrates.
    Have fun, good luck girls.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 1, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Yep, we raise our kids to leave us and then they do. I told someone recently I didn’t want to say ‘yes’ to our now-son in law because I didn’t want to lose my little girl. Guess we all want to freeze time or run it backwards sometimes. After I left where I grew up I could never get used to hearing about children I knew having grown up and having children of their own.
    Hope you all have a great time.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 1, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Great job girls!
    I’ll be thinking about you all today. Looks like the weather will be cooler and just beautiful for the festival.
    Post us some more of the activities at the festival when you have a chance.
    Thanks Tipper,
    Good luck all!

  • Reply
    Candy Davis
    October 1, 2016 at 8:18 am

    This post brought back many memories. My daughter began clogging when she was three years old. Her group was large and was split into teams by age and ability. The ages went from 3 years old through seniors in high school. The goal was to make the show team, even though all the teams performed. The girls and boy (we had one!) performed at public events, community clubhouses, nursing homes, children’s hospitals,or wherever they were invited, mainly in Lake County, Florida, where we live. Once a year they would perform at the Agriculture Expo in Moultrie, Ga. My daughter entered many a talent show as a clogger, either alone or as a duo. Her group also entered clogging competitions, which I especially liked, because there were cloggers from all over the country doing so many different styles. I loved the costumes, which were traditional full skirted dresses with white pinafores. I also loved the names of the steps, like flea-flicker, traveling shoes, high horse, rocking chair. My favorite thing was the sound of the taps themselves. It is a very pleasing, soothing sound. The group disbanded when my daughter was in middle school due to family circumstances of her instructors, a husband and wife. I missed it very much. One thing they did when they performed at the children’s hospital or at a nursing home, was to have a party after they performed for the patients. We would bring food and drink and they would talk to the patients and bring a little joy to their day. I’m glad my daughter got to participate in clogging. She developed a talent, helped keep alive a traditional art form, and brought joy to people who really needed a smile and a friendly voice.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 1, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Good Job! i”ll be there today and tomorrow and now I don’t have to drive 2 1/2 hours to get home when it’s over. It sure is nice living just down the road from the Folk School and from the Blind Pig Family!!

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 5:31 am

    This is a lovely, sweet post, Tipper. Thank you for sharing it, and the video. I’m one of the faraway readers who wishes she could be there this weekend, so it’s really special to be able to see a bit of the rehearsal 🙂

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