Traditional dancer Loretta Freeman currently performs with the Southern Mountain Fire Cloggers, and is a former member of American Clogging Hall of Fame national champions the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. She started dancing at the age of eight. Friendly childhood competition with one of her cousins helped hone her clogging skills, as did joining her first clog team at the age of thirteen. After a couple of years, she came to recognize her own talent, and dedicated herself to the art of flatfoot, clogging, and buck dancing.
Loretta is a member of a family of traditional artists. Her father, Gordon Freeman, was a renowned fiddler, as is her uncle Arvil Freeman. Many other family members are musicians too, and hearing traditional music “was natural around home, growing up.” Her preferred style of dancing is flatfooting, which she says goes well with the kind of fiddling for which her father was known.
Among the many venues and events at which Loretta Freeman has performed are the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the Blue Ridge Traditions series at the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort, Shindig on the Green, and MerleFest. She is an active member of the Folk Heritage Committee.
Loretta Freeman is available to perform solo, with her daughter Lynsey Rice, and with the Southern Mountain Fire Cloggers. She is also available to give classroom programs and demonstrations, as well as private lessons.