Two art forms that were thought to have lost their spark just got reignited by one performer – at the same time.
The video opens with a wooden platform sitting on a porch that overlooks a river. All of a sudden – we see an outline of a girl with her fiddle step up on the platform and begin to play an upbeat tune. At first, she taps her foot along like any musician would… but then she adds in something spectacular!
Rocking back on her heels, she enters a full-on jig that perfectly accompanies her fiddling. Surrounded by lush greenery and a steamroller on the river – this artist provides us with a trip down memory lane while introducing us to a rare art form: buck dancing.
While the exact location of where this dance style originated is unknown, most agree that is was somewhere in North Carolina – as its popularity remains predominantly in the Appalachian mountains. A solo dance, bucking has been known to be performed as a way to make music or “talk” with one’s feet.
In 1987, Mike Seeger set out to document the importance of mountain dance in his film “Talking Feet” but it was never widely distributed. The film highlights the different styles of each mountain community but the idea is the same across the board – people using dance to creatively express themselves.
Now, in 2018 this new video of female busker, Hillary Klug has brought back tradition into the homes of Americans nation-wide. Klug told The Tennessean that she started using her violin when she was thirteen after begging her mom to buy her one. The deal was that she would pay for half and her mom would pay the other half – but if Klug gave up or stopped attending lessons, she would have to pay her mother’s part back. Klug stuck with it and her talents flourished. Talk about a great way to teach your kids responsibility!
After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University, Klug – inspired by her parents – decided to earn her living the old-fashioned way.
She told The Tennessean, “Both my parents were kind of self-employed; they took their own financials into their own hands,” Klug says. “It just came natural to me to use the talents I had to make money rather than having to go find an employer to give me a steady paycheck.”
Klug has since performed in competitions nationwide, earning herself the title of National Buck Dancing Champion on July 2013 at Uncle Dave Macon Days Old-Time Music Festival in Murfreesboro, TN. A year ago, while working as a street performer, she admitted that her dream has always been to dance at the Grand Ole Opry. On July 28, 2018 – she did just that!
She might not have performed for an audience, but we have a feeling her bucking and fiddling career is just taking off. Her coach, Jim Wood of Flat Creek, TN, believes she is a force to be reckoned with.
He told The Tennessean how “there are good fiddle players and there are good dancers, but I don’t know anybody in the United States who dances as well as she plays or plays as well as she dances.”
Facebook agreed. In only a matter of days, her “Le Petit Chat Gris” (translation: the small, gray cat) video took the internet by storm. Over 8 million views later and this talented 26-year-old has now produced her own album and plans to introduce the dance style to the whole country by competing on America’s Got Talent.
Watch her Facebook-famous performance below and let us know what you think in the comments!