The Bailey Mountain Cloggers were organized in 1974 by students at Mars Hill College (now Mars Hill University) in the mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville. The Bailey Mountain name is derived from the mountain adjacent to the college campus.
This college clog team carries influence from an older championship team in Mars Hill called Bailey Mountain “Square” Dance Team. Comprised of young adults from the college and town, these dancers in the spring of 1950 toured the Southwest with Bascom Lamar Lunsford, who is credited for giving the name Bailey Mountain to the team. By the late 50’s, precision clogging entered the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville with James Kesterson and the Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers. Until then, only Smooth Big Circle Dance, called Mountain “Square” Dance, and freestyle clog dancing were part of the folk festival. One such precision clog team influenced the Bailey Mountain Cloggers in their early years: the Green Grass Cloggers.
During the 1980s Bailey Mountain began competition clogging and expanded its clog repertoire to include more than precision clog routines: Big Circle Smooth, Freestyle, Country Hoedown, Kentucky Running Set, Line Dance, Show, and Percussive dance routines. Today, the students who comprise the dance company come from various dance traditions, representing a number of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Each student clogger becomes a unique part of the Bailey Mountain tradition, blending the old with the new into a larger mosaic for the future. Each year this long championship tradition recreates itself anew, and showcases its traditional and contemporary dance routines in an annual clogging concert each spring.
Being one of a few college-based performing clog teams in the nation, with art performance grants and college credit courses, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers serve as ambassadors of goodwill for the university and the folk dance traditions of the Southern Mountains.
During their 49-year history, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers have performed throughout the United States and internationally in Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Austria, and Ireland. From the Kennedy Center in 1996 to the Austrian Alps Performing Arts Festival in 1997; from the world premier in 1998 of “Mountain Legacy” in Asheville, North Carolina to the Ulster-American Folk Park’s Appalachian Festivals in 1998-2001; from the “Making A Difference” performance for the BBC from Belfast, Ireland, viewed by over 5 million throughout Europe to a performance on Broadway in 2000; Palma Mallorca Folk Festival 2007 & 2009; International Judenfestwoche Paderborn Germany 2011; Billingham International Folk Festival 2013; Chambery France International Folk Festival 2015; Billingham International Folk Festival 2015; Lefkas International Folklore Festival Greece 2015; Poland & Czech Republic 2016; and more recent trips to England, France, Greece, Italy, and Portugal.
The Bailey Mountain Cloggers Folk Dance Company has established a national and international reputation for American clog dance excellence.
The Bailey Mountain Cloggers comprise 31 students from more than seven states. BMC is an American Folk Dance Ensemble. They are a performance and competition team and love traveling and performing for audiences of all ages!
In order to be a member of the Bailey Mountain Cloggers, you must be a student at Mars Hill University. Group auditions are held twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. You may also request a private audition with the director at other times.
BMC in Italy
Summer 2023 saw the Bailey Mountain Cloggers head to Italy for several weeks of performances at international folk dance festivals. Among the stops on this tour: Gemona, Guilianello, Paliano, Rome, Tarcento, Venice, and many others. What an incredible time during those wonderful weeks of fantastic memories and unforgettable moments!
BMC in France
The summer of 2015 took BMC to several countries, beginning with France. We visited many villages including Etain, Chambery, Montsevroux, Caqueraine, and many many more. We met many people and shared our love of Southern Appalachian dance and culture. We cannot thank the festivals, host families, and communities enough for the love and support we were given during these few weeks.
BMC in England
Our second trip of summer 2015 was to England for the second time to the Billingham International Folk Festival. Our lifelong friends we have made here, continuously make this trip a truly great experience. We performed for retirement homes, children, and hundreds of people in the town of Billingham.
BMC in Greece
BMC traveled to Lefkada Greece at the end of their summer 2015 journey. We performed for hundreds of people and met new friends from all over the world. We saw incredible beaches, met lovely people, and even danced with horses. The memories made on this trip was a fantastic finale to our summer travels. At the end of our trip, we visited Athens, the Parthenon, and The Mars Hill (Areopagus). It was an educational and moving experience for us all. Greece was the most beautiful place we have ever seen, and the memories will forever be in our hearts.