Murfreesboro's Cripple Creek Cloggers are performing in Germany at the tenth Danetzare in Erfurt. The local Appalachian style dance group is performing with troupes from East Timor, Slovakia, Ukraine, Ecuador, Mexico and Serbia, as well as by the host folk troupe, Thuringer Folklore Tanzensemble Rudolstadt.
As with International Folkfest in Murfreesboro each year, the local dancers and other community volunteers serve as guides while our members visit Germany. The host troupe makes certain that meals are organized, stages are ready, scheduling is in place, and that the visiting groups are met at their various points of entry into Germany.
Cripple Creek Cloggers are being guided by Zasha, who works with the army to maintain the German power grid. He is assisted by Walter, a psychotherapist, whom the Cripple Creek Cloggers inherited when his troupe from Kenya was unable to come. Music for the Murfreesboro group's performances is being provided by an excellent Croatian bluegrass band, Sarah & The Romans, with whom they worked in the festival in Zagreb in 2017.
Members of Cripple Creek Cloggers participating in this tour include Michael Graves, Doug Willard, Matthew Davis, Alan Miller, Ann Mattox, Donna Davis, Susan Mellantine, and Steve Cates, director.
This is the 51st anniversary of the Murfreesboro based Appalachian Mountain dance troupe and the 45th anniversary of their first European tour. The inaugural trip was to Romania in 1973.
The current tour's performances in Erfurt, Germany have included shows in the main public squares and in nearby communities.
Cates explained, "The Cripple Creek Cloggers arrived a day early in order to provide workshop type performances in a local kindergarten for their more than 500 students. They also were taught dances by them and enjoyed a delicious lunch in the garden of their facility."
Steve continued, "With much pageantry, flags of all participating nations are prominently displayed during performances. At the Friday (6/29/2018) night's concert show on the grounds of an ancient castle overlooking the city, homing pigeons were released by one couple from each participating ensemble as the evening came to a close."
Saturday (6/30/2018) morning's activities will include the official festival picture and a one-hour parade through the city. Performances by all groups will continue throughout the area with the evening's focus being workshops for children and adults. There will be a party in the evening.
Sunday's (7/1/2018) schedule will begin with an official meeting with Erfurt's mayor and gift exchanges among the groups. Cripple Creek Cloggers will close the farewell show, followed by the official closing ceremonies of the festival.
Cripple Creek Cloggers are finding friendly faces and enthusiastic crowds at all of their performances and among audience members who greet them casually as they are out and about in the city.
Cates noted, "This area of Germany is quite green and lovely, which made those who came from here in the 1700s and 1800s to places like Tennessee feel quite at home. Green energy is also emphasized and used. The city is extremely clean. There is a great consciousness toward recycling and keeping trash to a bare minimum. There is little police presence and no guns evident among the thousands of persons that the Cripple Creek Cloggers have met and for whom they have performed."
He continued, "Some of the Cripple Creek Cloggers have been to festivals in Germany before (Heppenheim, Schlitz, etc.), but not to this area. Several members of the Tennessee troupe will take advantage of traveling around Germany, Poland, Austria, England, and other places in Europe. during the days following the festival. Donna Davis, for instance, will be spending some extended time in Berlin to visit the troupe there whom she guided three years ago during International Folkfest."
Cate reminded WGNS' listeners that the Cripple Cloggers will next be practicing and teaching at the Smyrna Senior Citizens, 100 Raikes Street, at 4:15 Sunday afternoon, July 22nd. All interested persons are encouraged to attend. There is no charge to participate.
Plans are already underway for International Folkfest, June 9 through 16, 2019, as well as for other international tours and local performances for the troupe.