Sisters Keegan and Kaeton Crosby say competing against one another for different competitive clogging teams is fun and light-hearted — most of the time.
“Now she’s better than me,” older sister Keegan said.
“That’s true,” Kaeton said. Her tone serious, she paused a moment before adding, “Just joking.”
In reality, they are both strongly encouraging of one another, quick to point out the other’s strengths, and laughing about how it embarrasses both of them when mom, Shanda Crosby, wears a shirt with their pictures on it to competitions.
“It’s awful,” Kaeton said. “The other parents love it.”
Clogging, the Crosbys said, is what keeps their family together. They love to travel to competitions together on weekends, and their dad, Steve Crosby, even does some competitive clogging himself. Although Shanda doesn’t actually dance, she is always at competitions with a camera.
It has been a way of life for them since Keegan, 21, began clogging at age 8 in Studio One School of Dance founder Kelly Fithen’s basement.
Kaeton began dancing two years later at age 5, also at Studio One. Keegan still dances for Studio One, and teaches clogging classes there as frequently as six days a week. Although Kaeton moved to Jamie’s Dance Studio in Bath County several years ago to dance with more girls her age, it hasn’t adversely affected the sisters’ relationship.
In fact, Keegan said, clogging is something that has helped them strengthen their relationship, even when going head-to-head in competition.
“Sometimes we’re getting judged back-to-back, so I hear her clapping and cheering for me. I hope she hears me cheering for her,” Keegan said.
In January, the sisters, now in the same age division, were named as the nation’s top duo at the Clogging Champions of America Showdown in Knoxville, Tenn.
Keegan said the two had tried to perform as a duo once before, unsuccessfully. Now that the sisters are older and more experienced, they were able to work together to create an award-winning routine.
Although they had to qualify for the Showdown by competing at other CCA events, the Showdown duo finals was the first time they ever performed their winning routine. Kaeton said the inspiration for the choreography came when she saw reality show “America’s Best Dance Crew” winner Jabbawockeez perform in Las Vegas while participating in another clogging competition. The sisters said the show was one of their favorites, and they tried to emulate the Jabbawockeez look, wearing white masks and ties on stage.
“We were up there, smiling for the crowd, then we remembered they couldn’t see our faces,”¿Keegan said.
After years of being taught to use facial expressions to add to the performance, the duo was a bit of challenge.
Working together to create and perfect it was an even bigger challenge.
“We bicker and fight when we’re practicing, and then we work through it,” Keegan said.
Becoming a clogging duo has given them new respect for one another as dancers, and they have learned to work well as a team.
They have even become friends with the dancers at one another’s studios. Keegan said she has been dancing with sisters Caitlyn and Alyson Vincent, and Lauren Columbia for 13 years, and considers them an extended family.
“We really love each other, and the people on other teams,” Keegan said.
Although clogging at different studios has forced the Crosby sisters to compete against one another, Keegan said she is glad to see her sister dancing and improving.
“Even though she’s at a different studio, I like to see that she’s loving it as much as I¿love it. When I see how much she loves it, I know we’re where we’re supposed to be,” Keegan said, drawing a thumbs up from Kaeton. “We love to win, of course, but we’re supporting each other.”
Contact Rachel Parsons at email@example.com.