A Christmas story set in the Appalachian Mountains with traditional old-time Appalachian Bluegrass stringed instruments and authentic Clogging will be presented by the Village Church Community Players on Dec. 7-9 at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Church. “Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity,” will include clogging, a relatively unknown form of dance in this region.
Several of the cast members spent their childhood in the Appalachian Mountain region and watched local competitions or were taught how to clog by their grandparents. Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer’s footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe or both against a floor to create audible percussive rhythms, usually to the downbeat with the heel keeping the rhythm.
Charli Brown, an experienced clogger explained that the dance has origins in Wales and England. As it has evolved over the years, many localities have made contributions by adding local steps and rhythms to the style. Charli grew up in South Carolina, and learned clogging from her mother when the family relocated to Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Her mother wished to continue some of the Appalachian traditions. Since then she has performed at Knott’s Berry Farm with clogging groups and returned to South Carolina for clogging events. Fortunately for the Rancho Santa Fe Community Players, Charli willingly gave instruction to other members and choreographed the upcoming dance segment.
Along with the Appalachian cloggers, Tom Cunningham, a San Diego based singer-songwriter and professional performing musician in several prominent Bluegrass bands will be joining producing director Margie Wood and co-producer Kirk Duncan as the musical director for the production. His Bluegrass trio will include nationally recognized musicians, Gene Libbea, bass player and Kevin Gore, banjo. This Christmas tale will have you tapping your toes and singing its praises. This play is perfect family fare.
General admission for the day of performance is free. For information on Preferred Reserved Seating, please check the Village Community Players’ website at: villagechurchcommunitytheater.org.