When Cheyenne Sarka starting clogging as a 3-year-old, it was a way for her to socialize with other children. The activity became an obsession, and the dancer’s passion for her art has been life defining.
The 16-year-old Ridge Spring resident was one of 24 dancers selected for the All-American Clogging Team by America’s Clogging Hall of Fame in October.
Sarka first began clogging with Teri Anderson’s Southland Express but has had a number of instructors through the years.
Clogging has provided Sarka with an outlet to express herself, helping the dancer overcome her shyness as the clogger feels more comfortable when she’s performing on stage.
However, it was another award the clogger received that served as the impetus inspiring the dancer to make a deeper commitment to her art. Sarka was selected by the ACHF to be part of the Junior All-American team.
“I was 7 or 8 years old,” said Sarka. “I thought, ‘I can actually go somewhere with this.’”
Sarka demonstrated a remarkable precocity and began teaching and choreographing at a young age.
One instructor has had a profound influence on Sarka’s career – Rhythm and Class’ Dance Studio’s Mamie McAbee. It has been while clogging with McAbee that Sarka was selected for both All-American teams. The dancer started clogging with McAbee when she was 7 years old. At age 9, Sarka choreographed her first dance. Sarka takes an extremely disciplined approach to clogging, and can be found teaching at the studio every week, choreographing solos and duos.
“That’s when I became more involved with clogging,” said Sarka. “She challenged me more than the previous studio. I love being challenged with new steps and choreography.”
The dancer is home schooled and spends the preponderance of her time clogging.
“I do it every day,” said Sarka. “I’m always thinking about new steps, and how I can make new dances. My feet are constantly moving.”
Sarka participates in exhibitions and parades throughout the year and competitions that number in double digits on an annual basis. The dancer has a close relationship with McAbee and sees herself working with her instructor for years to come.
“I love to choreograph,” said Sarka. “I want to dance my whole life.”
The dancer has her sights on another goal; America’s Clogging Hall of Fame selects five dancers a year for scholarship money for clogging, but to be eligible, the dancer must have the grades. It’s Sarka’s objective to be one of those recipients.