The Bailey Mountain Cloggers, Mars Hill University‘s clog team, trace their origins to a group of dancers assembled by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1950. The Bailey Mountain Square Dance Team, made up of Mars Hill students and residents, were not precision cloggers, but performed mountain squares and freestyle clogging. The modern Bailey Mountain Cloggers were organized in 1974, and adopted the precision style of such groups as the 1950s Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers and contemporary Green Grass Cloggers. Today their repertoire is greatly expanded, incorporating freestyle, big circle, line dancing, and many other styles in their routines.
The Bailey Mountain Cloggers tour through the mountain region, participating in-and often winning-state and national competitions. In the fall of 2007 they won numerous awards at the America’s Clogging Hall of Fame National Championships in Maggie Valley, including their fourteenth overall awards for Traditional Precision Team, and the overall award for Young Adult Team, first place in the categories of Country Hoedown, Smooth, Open Line, Exhibition, Show, a capella, and traditional. They won fourteen overall and first-place awards at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in 2007, as well as major awards at many other clogging competitions. In the fall of 2008, they received their fifteenth and sixteenth national titles in the Traditional Precision Team and Contemporary Team categories at the National ACHF competition in Maggie Valley. The team won thirty other awards that same year, include four overall team awards.
Because the Bailey Mountain Cloggers are a college team, the lineup of members is slightly different each year. Mars Hill’s commitment to Appalachian folk dance is demonstrated by the fact that it extends clogging scholarships to exceptional dancers, much as it and other colleges recruit top scholars and athletes. The Cloggers perform several times each semester on the Mars Hill campus, as well at events throughout the region.
The Bailey Mountain Cloggers’ schedule is posted on their website. They are available to perform at festivals and in concert, and offer demonstrations, lessons, and educational programs.