By Sherrie Norris
Labor Day weekend proved to be a great time of celebration for two local dance studios participating in the USA National Clogging Competition in Nashville, Tenn.
High Country Dance Studio and Sole Impact Studios, both based in Boone, kicked up their heels and left their footprints in Music City during the 2023 USA National Clogging Championships at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
“This two-day, two-stage event comprised of over 380 team dances,” explained Elise Sigmon, owner of Sole Impact Studios. “There were 418 freestyle solos (contemporary, traditional, and acapella), 161 duets (traditional, contemporary and acapella), and 133 choreographed solos, with a grand total of 841 dancers.
“The event is divided into six competition divisions, she noted: Division I (Recreational, Amateur, and Masters) and Division II (Recreational, Amateur, and Masters). Division I is for teams whose average age falls under 16 years (Tiny Tot, Pee Wee, Elementary, and Junior). Division II is for teams whose average age is 16 or older (Senior, Young Adult, Adult, and Senior Adult). The Recreational, Amateur and Masters divisions are based on skill level and experience of the dancers competing.”
High Country Cloggers competed in both Recreational and Amateur; Sole Impact competed in the Amateur Division — and both came home with enviable titles, among which included National Champions.
HCC’s Amber Hendley added, “Dancers came from all over the United States, from Florida to Maine, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, and everywhere in between.”
Both SIgmon and Hendley noted that it’s not just a competition, but one in which dancers had to qualify to get there, by winning first, second, or third place at any regional event throughout the competition year.
“So, every team and every dancer had already proved themselves, and that they deserved to be there, Hendley added. “It’s invitation only, which makes it that much more special.”
Hendley further described the competition as “fierce,” adding, “This is one time a year when dancers can measure up against the best in the country — plus we get to stay at the coolest hotel in the country!”
While both studios are entities all their own, Hendley and Sigmon have a long history together.
“We’re sister teams. We’ve danced together forever, and love to encourage each other,” said Hendley. “Mom (Vanessa Minton) is the mother of all local cloggers and taught us all. She was so proud to see all of us out there, doing our best. We represented Boone well – and our North Carolina state dance. We all took away a lot of great wins.”
Sigmon added, “This is a very tough competition, but we go into it knowing we will win some and we will lose some. We qualified to be there, so just being at the competition is something to be proud of and to be celebrated! Competitive clogging gives our dancers a chance to learn how to be a good sport, no matter the results. Dancing amongst so many cloggers from all over the USA is such a unifying experience. And clogging competitions are so much fun and have such a unique atmosphere. Teams cheer for each other, they congratulate one another, and celebrate others’ victories. Even when we don’t win, we all leave feeling grateful and happy for the experience. It’s also so much fun being there with our friends from High Country Cloggers. It’s great to have each other’s support!”
High Country Dance Studio Compete in Over 20 Routines
High Country Dance Studio was represented by seven teams at the Nashville competition, from tiny tots to adults.
“We had close to 65 dancers, plus family members, there for the event,” Hendley said. “It was definitely an experience, an honor for us to be there with all the other dancers.”
Hendley coaches the tiny tots through the young adult group. “My mom coaches the adult group,” she said. “I also have amazing instructors that help — Hannah Smith, Addison Rudicile, Tiffany Ledford and Carrington Brown. I could not run the studio without their help! Congratulations and well done to Sole Impact and all the teams that competed. It’s always a joy to share our passion for clogging.”
High Country Cloggers competed in over 20 routines at nationals and came home with these awards:
- HCC Tiny Tots (ages 5-7): 1st place Tiny Tots Exhibition “Car Wash” & 2nd place Tiny Tot Formations Line “Mother Goose”
- HCC Pee Wee Shining Stars: 3rd place Traditional Line “Salty Dog”
- HCC Pee Wee (ages 7-9): 1st place Pee Wee Precision & Overall Precision Grand Champion, 1st place Line “Dance;”2nd place, Exhibition “Zoom;”
- HCC Pee Wee Shining Stars, Pee Wee I & Elementary teams (ages 7-12): 1st Show Routine “SANDLOT;”
- HCC Elementary (ages 10-12): 3rd place Formations Line “Exid,”4th place Traditional Formations Line “Days Of Gold” & Exhibition “Barbie;”
- HCC Jr team (ages 13-15): 1st place & Overall Grand Champions Traditional Line “I Be You Be,” 1st Place & Overall Grand Champion Precision, 2nd Place Formations Line “Buzzin,” 4th place Line “DKNY;”
- HCC Sr. Team (ages 16-18): 2nd place Formations Line “Fast” — against six of the most amazing teams in the country. “We are more than excited!! 4th place- Line “Missy” (“This category is by far the fiercest group at the entire competition,” said Hendley. “It has the most teams in the category to go up against, this is a great honor!”)
- HCC Adults- Two 1st place winners and two overall grand champions.
“We are proud to announce that Choreographed Soloist Taylin Snyder from High Country Cloggers is your Pee Wee National Champion,” added Hendley.
- 1st place Contemporary Duo Peewee: Claire Brown/Summer Isaacs
- Traditional Duo Elementary 3rd Place: Sadie Ledford/Adalyn Thompson
- Contemporary Duo 4th Place: Marlie Greer/Eliana Flores
“We did not have any dancers in the Young Adult Division, only because we don’t have any dancers in this age category just yet,” said Hendley. “We are starting to build a new Young Adult team October 2023, so please come sign up with us on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. or contact us if you or someone you know might be interested.
Amber Hendley and High Country Dance Studio may be reached at
HCC dancers participating in the recent competition Include:
Mila Bance, Addy Berry, Izzy Berry, Anna Brenneck, Ella Bridgeman, Reese Bridgeman, Claire Brown, Lainey Cash, Bayly Clifton, Charley Clifton, Harper Combs, Hadley Combs, Lily Earp, Eliana Flores, Emalee Gillard, Charly Hendley, Summer Isaacs, Myla Isaacs, Ellie Isaacs, Jada Johnson, Mila Johnson, Emory Kerns, Landry Proffit, Colbie Profitt, Taylin Snyder, Eliza Madeson Tester, Adalyn Thompson, Sydney Ward
Kendall Watts, Colbie Weatherman, Faith Woodring;
Grace Bauler, Madeline Bowlsby, Caroline Childers, Rylee Council, Maddie Gillam, Molly Graham, William Greene, Marlie Greer, Melanie Hollar, Ragan Huntsman, Esther Jobe, Sadie Ledford, Mariette Lisk,
Kimberly Mai, Hope McCollum, Kim Miller, Vanessa Minton, Alison Moretz, Julie Moretz, Amy Nelson, Lily Shepherd, Ella Shew, Hannah Smith, Naomi Snyder, Dorianah Whitehead, Lyla Williams.
Sole Impact Included in National All-Star Team
In addition to the grueling competition during the recent event, according to Sigmon, 105 dancers auditioned for the 2023-2024 USA National All-Star Team.
“Only 24 dancers are selected to be part of this elite team, which is given performance opportunities all across the United States, including at the 2024 USA National Clogging Championships. Sole Impact had four dancers to audition and all four made the team! They are: Chynna Birkmire, Addison Birkmire, Savannah Moretz, and Jenna Sigmon.”
Other huge accomplishments of Sole Impact include the following:
- Sole Impact Energy: 1st place Pee Wee Small Team
- Sole Impact Force: 5th place Elementary Traditional Line
- Sole Impact Spirit: 3rd place Elementary Show Routine “Matilda”
- Sole Impact Power: 4th place Junior Exhibition Routine “Star Wars” and 3rd place Junior Traditional Line Formations
- Sole Impact Shine: 1st place Young Adult and Overall Grand Champion Acapella Team and 1st place Young Adult and Overall Grand Champion Show Routine “Muppets”
- Sole Impact Pulse: 3rd place Young Adult Small Team, 1st place Young Adult Traditional Formations Line, 1st place Young Adult Traditional Line
- Sole Impact Elite: 1st place Adult Contemporary Line, 1st place Adult Exhibition, 3rd place Adult Traditional Formations Line
- Carlie Engle, Elementary freestyle contemporary solo
- Mackenzie Norris, Elementary choreographed solo
- Tobiana Greene, Elementary choreographed solo (3rd place)
- Clara McAllister, Elementary choreographed solo (4th place)
- Grace Young, Junior choreographed solo
- Bentley Bolick/Carlie Engle, Elementary contemporary duet (3rd place)
- Savannah Moretz/Jenna Sigmon, Junior contemporary duet (3rd place)
- Everly Lester/Myra McAllister, Elementary traditional duet (4th place)
- Riley Kesler/Sydney Moretz, Junior traditional duet
- Faith Hicks/Shea Snyder, Young Adult traditional duet (1st place)
- Grace Young, Erica Slate, Adult traditional duet (1st place)
- Cameron Cowart/Vera Kwong, Pee Wee show duet (1st place)
- Maddy Smart/Addison Birkmire, Senior show duet (3rd place)
- Mia Stacy/Madison Ogden, Senior show duet
Sole Impact competition team dancers: Ellie Arnold, Addison Birkmire, Bentley Bolick, Aubrey Brumfield, Katelyn Carson, Cameron Cowart, Carlie Engle, Tobiana Greene, Faith Hicks, Tracy Jarrell, Riley Kesler, Lily Kimbrough, MaryBeth Knight, Vera Kwong, Everly Lester, Clara McAllister, Myra McAllister, Becky Moretz, Kathryn Moretz, Savannah Moretz, Sydney Moretz, Mackenzie Norris, Madison Ogden, Haileigh Peele, Reagan Phillips, Allison Prewitt, Cecelia Prewitt, Wendy Prewitt, Skylar Russell, Jacob Sigmon, Jenna Sigmon, Erica Slate, Maddy Smart, Shea Snyder, Mia Stacy, Abby Talton, Grace Young, Directors: Elise Sigmon and Chynna Birkmire.
Elise Sigmon, Owner, Sole Impact Studios, may be reached at