What is Clogging?
Clogging is a type of folk dance that originated in the Appalachian Region of the United States that uses two metal plates on the toes and heals of the shoes (called jingle or hinged taps) that usually strike on the downbeats.
McKenna Flores started clogging as a toddler and hasn’t stopped stomping, striking, or smacking dance floors since. Clogging has been a family affair that began with her grandpa, who taught her mom and uncle, who later both taught her and her brother, Cameron. McKenna’s mom, LaNay King, taught her until the 3rd grade, which is when McKenna started taking clogging lessons from her uncle and aunt in Orem at Rocky Mountain Express. McKenna has carried on the teaching tradition and has been passionate about it since her junior year of high school when she opened her own studio in her parents’ basement. Five lucky neighborhood kids were her first students, and her teaching has been clicking, rocking, and stepping up ever since.
While she attended college at BYU, McKenna continued to teach, and subleased from another Heber dance studio. Also, during that time, she was on the BYU International Folk Dance team. She’s been director of the year four times, earned three national titles, and was inducted into the Clogging Hall of Fame in 2014 at the age of 19. McKenna was Miss Wasatch County 2013 and placed in the top 10 at Miss Utah. Four years ago, McKenna opened her dance studio: Stomp it Out Dance Studio. The studio offers classes for students ages 2-18 in Clogging, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Ballet, and Tumbling. As students progress, they have the opportunity to audition for Stomp it Out’s award-winning competition teams. McKenna also professionally choreographs for other individuals and teams, and offers private lessons. In addition to managing an expanding business, McKenna balances a growing young family with four children, ages 6,5,2,1.
Affirming Worth and Meaning
McKenna’s excitement and expertise for clogging is evident, but her passion for influencing younger generations is her number one priority. Besides being the only studio in the valley to offer clogging, there are two other things that demonstrate her uniqueness and commitment to the kids. She graciously explains, “Something that makes me unique is that in every single class, we do these affirmations that are on the wall: I am brave, I am kind, I am strong, I can do hard things, my body is amazing, I can do anything I set my mind to, I am awesome, I am a Stomp it Out dancer.” McKenna continues, “I don’t take lightly how much of an impact I can have on youth and how important it is for these girls and boys to have a positive role model, especially body positivity. So much is going on with teenagers with mental health and physical health and social media pressures that […] they’re dealing with a lot. In addition to teaching the kids how to dance, I hope that they leave the studio each day feeling a little bit more confident about themselves, like ‘you know what? I’m actually pretty awesome!’” McKenna shares what she strives to give each of her students, “In here, it’s just a real safe space. They can tell me anything. I try to be a soft spot for the kids if they need to tell me anything that they don’t feel they could tell another adult. I want to make sure that the kids know they have a place for that. ‘For me, that’s a huge focus. Another thing that makes me different is the touring that we do. Each summer, we go somewhere on tour.” McKenna’s teams have performed at Disneyworld, Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, Disneyland, and Branson, MO.
I am brave, I am kind, I am strong, I can do hard things, my body is amazing, I can do anything I set my mind to, I am awesome, I am a Stomp it Out dancer.
Influencing Value and Purpose
As the studio has grown, McKenna invited three additional amazing teachers to join her. Tayler Newman, Kelsey Tippitts, and Lydia Pullan are incredibly talented women who share the same values and goals as McKenna. Each of them brings a unique perspective and adds to what makes Stomp it Out Dance Studio such a great place for students to learn, develop, and share their talents. Speaking of sharing talents, every year, the studio holds two recitals: one in the spring and another at Christmas time. All classes and competitive teams perform and share what they’ve learned with their family, friends, and the community.
The Christmas Recital is held as a benefit event for the Children’s Justice Center and The Heber Food Pantry. In 2020 Stomp It Out pre-recorded their recital and offered it virtually; the community donated via Venmo, and blankets were brought to the studio and delivered to the Children’s Justice Center. The Cloggers also held a silent auction in conjunction with the 2021 Christmas recital, and last year, they held a food drive for The Heber Food Pantry. McKenna shares, “I want Stomp it Out to be a place in the community that gives back. We always perform for the community somewhere, […] and we do all of our performances for free. I want the kids to donate their time back to the community that gives a lot to them, to donate back to organizations that benefit youth that maybe go to their school. The most important thing is that Stomp it Out is a place for everybody.”
Heber is blessed with multiple dance studio options, which is a good thing; according to McKenna, “I think all the dance studios in the valley offer awesome things for kids. One thing that’s so great is that, you know, maybe a student that doesn’t totally vibe with me vibes with another instructor at another dance studio, which is why I think it’s so great that there are multiple dance studios.”
McKenna’s passion for clogging and life is definitely an asset to the Heber Valley. As she continues to influence dancers in the Heber Valley, they will benefit from her approach to teaching and life.
“We want to help kids develop confidence on the inside that really reflects on the outside to help launch them for the rest of their lives.”
Stomp it Out Dance Studio stompitoutdancestudio.com
Facebook and Instagram
2024 Christmas Program
Check the website for updated information and for event tickets