Boasting 640 residents, the city of Marquette is not always the first place thought of when thinking of the fine arts. However, since 1989 the little town has been home to the Elizabeth A. Hopp Fine Arts Center where local children have attended classes in everything from ballet to karate.
On Feb. 7, 1995, Hopp passed away after a battling breast cancer for years. That year the fine arts center was renamed the Elizabeth A. Hopp Fine Arts Center. Carie Nelson has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is now the director of the fine arts center as well president of the fine arts center board.
Nelson has carried on her mother’s legacy in more ways than one. Her mother became a lover of clogging years ago and hired a clogging teacher for the studio. It wasn’t long before Hopp began teaching the folk dancing herself, and so the Marquette Cloggers were born. Hopp’s eldest daughter Shauna Hopp Huntington taught the class for a time and now the torch has passed on to Nelson.
“I’ve always loved clogging and I like teaching because it’s a unique dance I get to teach the kids,” Nelson said. “It’s a way to give back to the community, which is really important.“
Hopp choreographs the routines for her students, and they perform in front of audiences at local venues and events such as Hyllingsfest in Lindsborg, the Central Kansas Flywheel Museum’s Yesteryear Fall Festival and at the McPherson Opera House for the annual opera house fundraiser. For each show her 18 students perform, Nelson also learns and performs a routine.
“I didn’t get to clog much when I lived in Kansas City for three years and I really missed it,” Nelson said.
The family tradition will continue, as at this time Nelson has an infant son named Evan who is likely to follow in her footsteps as she did her mother’s.
“He was clogging in the womb and will be clogging in the studio in no time,” Nelson said.
*Article from the McPherson Sentinel.