Take a deep dive into Appalachian Percussive Dance styles, gaining new steps and vocabulary, as well knowledge of dance styles and traditions with Southwest Virginia dance legends. Each class will include a combination of dissecting and learning flatfooting, clogging, and buckdancing steps from Sophie Moeckel and Gina Dilg in a small group setting with live music. We will also get an inside look into the history and tradition of dance from some of our favorite dancers in the region, with one or more guest dancers joining each day to pass along their unique regional styles and steps and share what this dance means to them.
All levels are welcome in this class, but a familiarity with the foundations of Appalachian dance is encouraged so that you can take your dancing to the next level.
Sophie Moeckel grew up surrounded by music in the Blue Ridge mountains. She fell in love with the community aspect of old time music as a Floyd JAMs (Junior Appalachian Musicians) student, where she now teaches fiddle and dance. She’s been a part of the Handmade Music School team since its beginning, serving in many roles throughout the years. She currently serves as Director of Operations for the organization and teaches fiddle, beginner guitar and banjo, and Appalachian Dance. Sophie has extensive experience teaching music and working with children both in classroom and after-school settings and you can usually find her playing music, crafting, or dancing with a gaggle of children! She is passionate about passing along Appalachian music and dance traditions and believes strongly in their power to build community. She loves sharing the joy of music by playing for and learning from dancers at the Friday Night Jamboree at The Floyd Country Store and local fiddlers conventions, jamming and dancing with friends, and creating opportunities for others to experience the power of the arts to bring us together! Sophie has been soaking up Appalachian dance moves for eight years now, working especially with Phil Jamison and Becky Hill, picking up steps from local dancers in the rich dance landscape of Southwest Virginia, teaching adults and children, and dancing with multiple clogging groups.
Gina Dilg is a passionate and dedicated musician and dancer with a deep love for preserving and sharing the rich traditions of old-time music. Her journey through the diverse landscape of American folk music and dance has taken her across the country, but it was in the rolling hills of Southwest Virginia that she truly found her musical and rhythmic home.
Gina’s musical roots run deep, nurtured by her parents’ dedication to the music in New Mexico. She grew up attending events like the Mt. Airy Fiddlers Convention in North Carolina and Clifftop in West Virginia, where her appreciation for the cultural tapestry woven by the melodies and rhythms of American folk music took root.
The Colorado years brought a new dimension to Gina’s musical journey when she met her husband, Jason Dilg, and invited him to her project Firing Line Stringband. Their shared passion for traditional string band music led them to Southwest Virginia in 2016, where they fully immersed themselves in the vibrant music scene, playing with the Earl White String Band, Joe Thrift & The Yeehaw Ramblers, and as their duo The Lovely Mountaineers. Gina also formed the high-energy string band The Mustard Cutters with Trish Fore, Ashlee Watkins and Brett Morris.
One of Gina’s defining moments was the discovery of flatfoot dance while living in this region. She was deeply inspired by the generations of dancers at the Floyd Country Store and honed her dance skills at the first Floyd Get Together camp organized by the Handmade Music School and taught by Becky Hill. Gina realized that flatfoot dance could be a powerful instrument for musical conversation, enhancing the energy and spirit of any jam or performance. She also found that percussive dance offered an incredible cardio workout—a welcome counterbalance to sitting for days at a fiddlers’ convention.
Gina has shared her love for dance and music by organizing numerous dance workshops in the area, earning recognition with ribbons at some of the most well-known conventions such as Galax, Clifftop String Band Festival, and Mt. Airy. What she loves most is sharing the sheer joy of dance with others, making old-time music accessible and engaging for people of all ages and abilities. Gina believes that old-time music is made for dancing, and she is passionate about giving her community as much joy through music and dance as possible.