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Culture, Clogging and Community Outreach at High Country Dance Studio’s End of Year Event on Friday


Amber Hendley (middle) and junior dance members gather at a 2019 Winter Clogging event on March 30.

By Laura Boaggio

On Friday at 6:30 p.m in Watauga High School, High Country Dance Studio is hosting their annual end of year show with the production titled “Never Grow Up,” which alludes to the Peter Pan showpiece that will be performed, said director Amber Hendley.

Around the end of May or beginning of June, HCDS hosts an event to showcase dancers and what they have learned throughout the year. Every year has a different theme. There are over 100 dancers that will be showcased Friday night, with ages ranging from 3-year-olds to a spectacular 85-year-old dancer.

Doc and Amber Hendley visit Tanzania to launch a Wine To Water program and meet the women that provided “Never Grow Up” with costumes in November 2018

While the HCDS originated with clogging, there will be multiple other dance styles exhibited in the performance, such as jazz, hip-hop and cheer. A group called the “Mini Mountaineers,” will be present, who are coached by the App State Dance Team and will perform a combination of dance styles influenced by the older girls.

Fundraising for the community is also a tradition and “Never Grow Up,” will use the proceeds to raise money for a local family in need. In the past, the end of year events have helped other families within the community who were in need of a helping hand. Hendley said that one year, the event fundraised enough money to send a family whose daughter was suffering from leukemia to Disney World.

“There was a family whose house burned down so we did a fundraiser for them,” Hendley said. “We really try to turn our end of year show into a way we can give back.”

The dance includes music and styles from all over the world- literally. Hendley’s husband runs the organization Wine To Water, which helps to combat the world water crisis in various countries, according to their website. Hendley said Wine To Water gives the couple an opportunity to travel and get inspired by different styles of dance and how they are executed. Some of the costumes and props used in these events have been made by women they have visited across the globe.

“We are completely inspired and use music and dances that we’ve picked up from all over, in addition to our clogging,” Hendley said.

The couple recently returned from a trip to Tanzania where women crafted skirts for “Never Grow Up.”

Dancers come from all over North Carolina to perform with the elite clogging group, including areas such as Charlotte, Hickory and Morgantown. HCDS has four dancers from Bailey Mountain Cloggers, which is the No.1 clogging team in the country.

The show will be a fast paced event at approximately 2 hours long, Hendley said.

“We move them on that stage as fast as we can, because we want to keep that entertainment level up,” Hendley said.

For any audience member that enjoys “Never Grow Up,” the HCDS has a yearly summer camp which takes place August 5-9 at Watauga High School and includes the types of dancing being showcased at Friday’s event.