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Carla Gover

Carla Gover

Arts Education Artist
  • Folk Arts


    Carla Gover is a Kentucky musician, dancer, and educator who has performed and taught around the world. A native of Eastern Kentucky, she brings a passion for the cultural traditions of the region to students and audiences, and her 20 years of Arts Education experience help her seamlessly integrate curriculum concepts into her presentations. She is something of an "ambassador" for Appalachia outside the region, as she presents the beauty, dignity and strengths of a region much maligned by pop culture and media. Within the region, she has a special passion for working with youth and as a community organizer. She is also a roster artist for Kentucky Arts Onstage, The Tour of Kentucky Folklife Program, and The Southern Arts Federation. She has served on staff of numerous camps throughout the years, including Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, Turtle Island Nature Preserve Boys and Girls Camp, Visionseed Arts Camp, and Cowan Creek Mountain Music School. As a musician, her music includes ancient ballads and original songs about themes from her life, and she has won a handful of songwriting contests, including Merlefest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, The Kerrville New Folk Award, and The Flatrock Music Festival Songwriting Contest. Her residencies always highlight the relationship between the music and dance of Appalachia and can include musical components.

    Potential Residency Project


    1. Students will learn about the history and evolution of Appalachian Clogging. Students will discuss the various cultural groups that came together to create Appalachian culture/dance.

    2. Students will learn samples of African-American, Irish, and Native American Dance.

    3. Students will learn to perform a short Appalachian Clogging Routine and an Appalachian Group Dance.

    DAY 1

    Students will begin by looking at a map of the world, and discussing the various locations from which immigrants came to Appalachia. Students will discuss the reasons for the immigrants' journeys. Artist will demonstrate a short sample of traditional Appalachian Clogging, and then all students will learn an Appalachian Group Figure Dance.

    DAY 2

    Students will learn the basic step for Irish Traditional Dancing, then segue into learning the basic step for Appalachian Clogging. Through this process, they will see how the step morphed and changed in the New World. Students will also learn how the music and dance of both cultures complement one another. Students will perform the steps they have learned for each other in small groups.

    DAY 3

    Students will learn a simple Cherokee Dance and discuss the original inhabitants of Appalachia. Students will review the basic clogging step, learn two new steps, and then have time to begin creating a simple clogging step of their own. At the end of class, they will be asked to analyze each style learned so far through the elements of dance.

    DAY 4

    Students will learn some simple African-American hamboning rhythms with their hands. They will compare and contrast the circumstances of the arrival of immigrants from Africa and the British Isles. They will continue learning new clogging steps, and teach each other the steps they have invented. Students will discuss ways in which they think the various other forms they have learned might have influenced the development of Appalachian dance.

    DAY 5

    Students will review all dance steps learned plus their mini clogging routine. The week will culminate with an informal performance to be shared with other classes and parents, who will be invited to a special day or nighttime performance.

    The residency could fit into a larger school education program by working with a music teacher, a humanities teacher, a physical education teacher, or a team of regular classroom teacher to expand upon units they are doing and to give them additional material and information to continue the study after the residency is complete. The teachers will be given a packet for further study of Appalachian Culture which they may use to expand upon the weeks' learning after the artist is gone. They will also be given a link to the artist's website, which contains an educational web resource and additional lesson plan for teachers about Appalachian Music, which can function as a related unit for further study.

    Core content items addressed include but are not limited to:

    • Students make sense of and communicate ideas with movement. (Dance)

    • Students will identify or describe elements of dance in a variety of dances.

    • Students will describe how various elements of dance are used to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

    • Students will identify how dance fulfills a variety of purposes.

    • Students will perform traditional folk dances.
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