Cripple Creek Cloggers and their accompanying string band returned recently from touring festivals in the Baltic States. They represented the U.S. in "Baltica 2012" in Riga, Latvia, and then were featured performers for the Folklore Festival "PARBEG LAIVELS" in Klaipeda, Lithuania.
Not only did they have superior music, furnished by Oliver Shalibo and his bluegrass musicians ( including some from MD, VA, Australia, and Latvia who joined them in Europe), but also huge and enthusiastic audiences welcoming them and encouraging them with applause, smiles and the waving of hands as they entered the stages. It was a good experience for the dancers and their director-founder, Steve Cates, to celebrate their 45th year of existence.
One big goal of these tours is to meet troupes from other countries to invite to Murfreesboro for International Folkfest, which celebrated its 30th anniversary here in June. They found on this trip fine performers from Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Italy and others, many of whom indeed showed an interest in being here for the upcoming June 9-16 local festival.
The first two days of the tour were spent in the homes of families who are a part of the dance school of 300 in Riga owned by Agris Danilevics. Agris was a young man when the TN dancers were first in Latvia for "Baltica 88". He came here with the Latvian troupe, "Gundega" , for the 1991 International Folkfest. Since then, he has used his dancing and entrepreneurial skills to organize and open this school.
Cripple Creek Cloggers did a workshop in Appalachian dancing for his students and enjoyed fellowshipping with them and their families. Three of the members of the local troupe were in Riga in 1988 and being there again was especially significant for them. Hopefully, Agris will bring Latvian dancers and musicians from his school here for the 2013 International Folkfest.
Cripple Creek Cloggers will be meeting and teaching on Tuesday nights, beginning on August 7, at their practice site, 220 E. Vine Street, at 7 p.m. There is no charge for lessons and no dance experience is required. For more information about the group and their upcoming performances in the area , visit their website, www.cripplecreekcloggers.org.
Plans are underway now for International Folkfest 2013. The website with information about the festival is www.mboro-international-folkfest.org. Planning meetings will be held this fall to get things in place and community volunteers are always needed, especially as drivers/guides for the foreign groups, assistance with publicity, organizing food, setting up housing, etc.