These four grey walls have become such a lovely sight to see. My compact black cubby, though barely sizable enough for shoes and a water bottle, is slowly transforming into a tiny closet; just grand enough for the necessities of any practice. For times of distress when a water bottle or refreshing beverage is forgotten, do not fear! The trusty five gallon, ocean blue water cooler is everlastingly located in the far left corner of the studio. With transparent plastic cups stacked high upon the water cooler’s upper face, this trendy section of the studio refuses to go unnoticed. Awaiting upon the opposite end of the room, is a shiny, two inch thick, roll of duct tape. (For prevention of ungraceful slips and/or laughable falls.) Thinking back on previous mishaps, I wander over to the petite, black music table, where the duct tape is located. As I reach for the silver ring, of clingy, yet pride saving tape, my hand takes a detour into the candy basket. While making sure there are no witnesses, I unwrap a yummy tootsie roll and shove it into my mouth, as if the privilege to eat candy is going to permanently vanish at any moment.
“Chew! Chew! Chew! Hurry! Swallow!” I say to myself as I casually apply duct tape to the bottom of my taps. For some reason, anonymous to me, we all treat getting candy out of the candy basket like it is a violation of some secret code. As if Mrs. Marci is going to chase us around the studio lobbing her clogging shoes at us until we discharge it from our guts. However, we continue to slyly sneak candy from the wee red candy basket whenever we get a chance.
Finally, practice is about to commence. We line up in our staggered lines like hypnotized robots. Getting into a formation, correct or incorrect, comes as naturally to us as saying “E.T. phone home.” does to E.T. We are not really aware of why or how we end up where we do, it all just spills into place. As the music begins, we bounce awkwardly like baby bunnies, pursuing to keep the beat in our heads. A couple attempting graceful eight counts later, the genuine clogging kicks off.
Knees high and smiles bright we dance in our beloved PowerTaps Clogging studio. Mentally, physically and emotionally we are preparing ourselves for our, soon coming, competition. Taking critical advice from our fantastic directors, and laboring on the essentials of a well thought out routine, is everlastingly programmed into our weekly practice schedule. Improving previously created skills forces us to sprout as dancers.
Following an hour and thirty minutes of demanding dancing, I ready myself to depart from this tremendous place. Goodbyes are spoken, hugs go around and I walk through the exit door leading to the parking lot. I gradually tread towards my car and embark the driver’s seat. Departing the parking lot, I stick my arm out the window and gloomily wave to my clogging family, who will be absent from my life for the upcoming week. As I make the disheartening commute home, I begin to think back on the practice that lay in my remarkably recent past, and in this moment, I realize that the PowerTaps Clogging Studio, in Woodstock, Georgia is definitely my home away from home.
by Ashton Crowe