Standing Up To the Abrasiveness of Appalachian Clogging
Dance, and especially clogging, is in the blood for St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin’s River City Dance studio owner Sheryl Baker. Now in her 40s, Sheryl has experience dancing on the stages of Dollywood in Pegeon Forge, Tenn., for six seasons, dancing for two years on the TV show ”The Old Midwest Barn Dance” and coaching several national champion soloists, receiving overall awards and gold medals at the AAU Junior Olympics, NCHC Championships and National Clogging Champions of America.
Getting her start in figure skating, tap, jazz, ballet, and Appalachian clogging, Sheryl has been a national clogging instructor and judge since 1990. Sheryl was the recipient of the ”Glen Hill Pioneer Award” in 2006, recognizing her for her contributions to the clogging community in choreography, teaching and spirit. In 2013, she was inducted into the clogging ”Hall of Fame.”
In addition to River City Dance, the 30-year veteran of dance instruction also runs the River City Cloggers based on the other side of the Scenic St. Croix River in Taylors Falls, Minn., and a competitive team called The Clogging Premier. She caters to clients ranging from preschool to 92 years young.
”Appalachian clogging is wonderful for all ages,” Baker said.
Baker’s clogging teams are known for their acapella clogging skills that combine the best tap sounds with rhythm and sound.
”Our team has the national title for the overall acapella team in the world,” Baker said. ”Our clogging nationals teams have won in some of the precision categories, hoedown categories and some of the line categories.”
Her 17-year-old daughter, Alyssa Keller, is also a two-time national champion in acapella clogging.
Finding the Proper Flooring for Clogging
As the popularity of Baker’s instruction grew, she decided to open River City Dance earlier this year and needed some quality flooring to meet the needs of this aggressive form of dance as well as other styles.
While searching for dance flooring online, she found Greatmats.com and was impressed by its descriptions of the types of dance flooring available and ultimately chose Rosco Adagio marley flooring.
”I was looking for a floor that was really durable and would stand up to an abrasive type of activity,” Baker said. ”It was very easy to install. It just laid down, and we got it installed very quickly. We opened our studio after two weeks of prepping the space, and it has really held up.”
She was also impressed with the controlled slip the flooring offered.
”Because (Appalachian clogging) is so aggressive, and you’re picking your feet up so high, it does move very quickly, you’re looking for a floor that has a surface that has non skid. … The dancers risk falling if you’re on a slippery surface.”
”This floor in particular, the marley floor, is wonderful, where we can do our movements and not have fear of falling,” Baker added. ”I always welcome anyone to look up River City Dance. It’s a fun atmosphere.”
River City Dance also offers classes in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Fitness and Canadian Step Dancing.