Young clogger dances with a ‘bang’

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 21, 2002

Features Editor

Bailee Dykes makes a lot of noise.

And, if not joyful noise, certainly happy noise.

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Bailee is a clogger.

When she’s not dancing with her feet, she’s dancing in her head, choreographing dances, some of which have won her several talent awards.

When pressed to explain exactly what it is that keeps an eighth-grader’s toes a-tapping, Bailee only smiled and said, "It’s fun. Lots of fun."

She is a member of "She-BANG," a clogging team from the Troy School of Dance and Arts, and she’s been tapping her toes and kicking up her heels for seven years.

"My first grade teacher at Banks talked to me about clogging because she thought I would like it," Bailee said. "I went to Kid’s College and learned to clog a little bit, but I liked it a lot."

Bailee is an experienced clogger, but she isn’t really interested in any other kind of dance.

"Clogging is so much fun to me because you get to make a lot of noise," she said, with a smile. "In tap dancing, you only have two taps. In clogging, you have four and the taps hit against each other and it makes a great sound. The sound is different from tap dancing. Clogging and tap dancing aren’t the same."

Clogging takes a lot of energy because the feet move "quick and fast." Just watching, clogging looks to be very difficult, but, for Bailee, it’s not.

She’s not sure if she just has talented feet or if she’s just so dedicated to the dance that practice doesn’t seem like work.

She looks forward to every class and she practices every day without fail.

"I like to make up my own dances and those are the ones I usually do when I enter

a talent contest," she said.

For the county 4-H talent contest in March, Bailee choreographed a dance to a medley of Michael Jackson songs and she won top honors in the junior individual dance division for the third time in three years.

Individual awards are nice, but Bailee likes applause and awards best when they come from a team effort.

She-BANG performs at different events in the area and in several competitions each year.

"The most fun is dancing with

She-BANG," Bailee said. "We are a team."

Being a member of a team means each member has to do her or his part for a performance to be a success. That means being prepared and knowing each and every step and keeping time with everyone else.

Bailee wants to make sure she’s ready every time the group performs, so she practices and practices and no one ever has to remind her.

"I know practice is important and I know I have to keep in shape, too," she said. "I walk a lot and ride my bike and that helps me stay in shape."

Bailee isn’t thinking too far into her future right now. She just wants to keep clogging and having fun with her friends.

One day, down the road, she might decide to take tap or ballet, but on thing for sure, "I’ll keep clogging for as long as I can. It’s too much fun to stop."