Local Cloggers headed for State Fair competition
Every Wednesday afternoon, the sounds of happy feet emanate from the Holmes Ballroom in the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, as the North Star Cloggers hold their weekly practice.
Though the group's five members hail from different communities -- Stephanie Hogan is from Vergas, Pat Lawyer from Cormorant, Connie Kovala from Snellman, and Carol Tharaldson and Jane Frank from Detroit Lakes -- they rarely miss a session.
Especially of late, as the group prepares for its Minnesota State Fair debut on Monday, Aug. 27. The quintet earned their trip by winning the talent show at the Hubbard County Fair last month in Park Rapids.
If they do well enough at that appearance, the cloggers will be invited back on Labor Day weekend for the state finals.
Though they've only been together a little less than three years now, the cloggers have become accomplished enough to appear on the Historic Holmes Theatre stage with The Bills; at Frazee's annual Turkey Days celebration; and as part of St. Mary's Regional Health Center's annual Life and Health Celebration.
They danced at the Wilkin County Fair in Breckenridge on Friday, and will also appear this coming Friday, Aug. 24, at Barnesville Potato Days.
The women perform "a little bit of everything," according to Hogan -- from Celtic to country to swing to hip-hop. "We're very eclectic," she says.
"We're precision line cloggers," she explained. "We dance together to choreographed steps."
This means each dancer must match her steps as precisely as possible to the other four -- and mistakes are usually audible.
"Each song has its own steps," Frank added.
And as shown at this week's practice session, those steps are usually quite fast and intricate, which means their memory gets as much of a workout as their bodies.
"It's great exercise," Tharaldson says.
"Mentally and physically," Hogan adds.
The group also enjoys creating their own costumes -- though some are better at making them than others.
"Some of us don't sew as well -- nor do we want to," says Hogan.
Each member of the group has strengths that they bring to their performances, Tharaldson points out. "And it's fun," she adds.
The members of the group range in age from 55-65. Hogan admits to being the eldest member -- but jokes that this means she will be able to get into the State Fair $4 cheaper than the rest of them.
"She's (Hogan) the feistiest of us too," Frank says.