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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Sheila Ruby Graziano and Meredith Brown
2013 master artist and apprentice
Chelsea and Ypsilanti (Washtenaw County)
clogging and traditional step dancing

Sheila Ruby Graziano began dancing at the Shirley St. Mary School of Dance in Detroit where she was introduced to many different aspects of tap. She made her TV debut on a local talent show, Starlit Stairway, in the mid-1960s. At Cass Technical High School, she enrolled in the performing arts curriculum and took modern dance but found it to be not as much to her liking because she missed the “percussive beats and the more aggressive nature of tapping.” In 1976, restaurant work lead to her discovery of traditional step dancing when the natural foods restaurant she was working sold concessions at a music festival. The music and dance she experienced at this festival changed her life. After some searching, she connected with cloggers in the metro Detroit area and eventually formed her first clogging group, The Crosstown Cloggers. She has been involved in Dance Camp (now called Traditional Arts Weekend) in Wheatland for more than  twenty-four years, has formed a clogging and fiddling group in the Saline Public Schools, and has taught numerous workshops throughout the region.

Meredith Brown is a tap dancer and fiddle player who views clogging as a perfect “bride” to her dance and musical worlds. A goal of Brown’s apprenticeship is to perform in a show at the Wheatland Music Organization’s fortieth anniversary. Brown also hopes that one day she might also become a teacher in this tradition.

-Mary Worrall

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