This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
From ballet to hip-hop, dance has long been used to express the ideas and feelings of various cultures. America has served as a melting pot for many dance forms, particularly clogging, which interestingly enough, evolved from African, English, Irish and Native American dance styles. Perhaps this explains clogging's international appeal.
Clog America was formed in 1991, when its founders Shawnda Bishop and Bonnie Romney wanted to give young dancers an experience like they once enjoyed as students performing abroad with Brigham Young University's International Folk Dance Team.
For 13 years, Clog America's dancers and musicians from Utah, Nevada and Wyoming, have appeared at more than 40 international festivals. This August, Clog America will join 2,400 other performers from 70 nations, in Hungary, for World Folkloriada, 2004. As America's sole representative, Clog America members will share their clogging and musical heritage while striving to foster respect and appreciation for other cultures.
Director, Shawnda Bishop, tells me one of the group's most memorable experiences took place in what was once East Germany. In 1999, Clog America became the first non-German group in 146 years to perform in Malchow's annual folk festival. It was July 4th, and as the troupe was about to begin their first full show, the German hosts played a recording of "The Star Spangled Banner," and the entire audience spontaneously stood in respect. Shawnda tells me this is just one example of how they've been welcomed with open arms wherever they've ventured.
These energetic dancers, together with their accomplished string band, are proud to represent the U.S. and the state of Utah, as ambassadors of peace and friendship. Through the universal language of music and dance, they hope to promote peace and understanding among nations for years to come.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.