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Sheila Headshot

Sheila Graziano

Sheila discovered her passion for dance as a child, when she started taking tap dance lessons at the Shirley St. Mary School of Dance in Detroit.  As a young adult, her enthusiasm for percussive dance grew with the discovery of Appalachian clogging and other forms of traditional dance.  She spent several years taking workshops from masters who passed through Michigan, often meeting and working at them at events like the Wheatland Dance Camp and myriad music and dance festivals.

Meeting other like-minded people led to the formation of dance performance ensembles such as The Crosstown Cloggers, Crow’s Feet, and The CommonWealth Dance Collective.  Always one to share her knowledge, passion and expertise, Sheila teaches workshops at camps and festivals in the midwest and in Canada, often in tandem with performances.  She also holds ongoing workshops for teenagers (The Saline Fiddlers) and adults in southeast Michigan.  Sheila is a dance soloist with La Compagnie Music and Dance troupe, based in southeast Michigan.   

Graziano is a four-time recipient of the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program grant -- thrice as a "master,” and once as an apprentice.

Adam Wheeler

Adam began dancing at the age of 10 after seeing the Cottonwood Cloggers perform locally in Southeastern Michigan. In his teen years, Adam danced with various clogging groups across the state of Michigan. He also joined a youth performance group called the Earth Angels, which brought to life the music and spirit of the 50s and 60s. Adam danced at the International Clogging Expo parade in D.C. (2002).  Adam, and dance partner Laura Laymon, competed at the 2005 Junior Olympics in New Orleans and took home a silver medal. Adam attended Mars Hill University in North Carolina where he joined the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. The team claimed 5 national titles over the course of his time with BMC. Adam also served on the leadership team and as team captain his senior year. In 2010, Adam was inducted into the America’s Clogging Hall of Fame All American Team.  Adam has had the wonderful opportunities to represent clogging and the United States at international folk festivals with BMC in Spain (2009) and Germany (2011). Adam is a proud member of American Racket, and has traveled with the group to Korea (2012), North Carolina (2017), and Brazil (2019) to similar international folk festivals. After returning to Michigan in 2014, Adam reunited with Sheila Graziano and began dancing again with the CommonWealth Dance Collective, as well as teaching clogging to the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic, a local high-school performance group.

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Alina Soltis

Alina Soltis is a percussive dancer from Saline, Michigan. She studied clogging under Sheila Graziano at the beginning of high school through her local high school fiddle group, Fiddlers ReStrung. She graduated from Davis & Elkins College in May 2018 with a B.A. in American Vernacular Dance and a B.S. in General Chemistry. She was also the Dance Captain of the Davis & Elkins Appalachian Ensemble and festival director for Davis and Elkins Dance Festival in 2018. Alina has had the opportunity to work closely and learn from other professionals including Emily Oleson, Laurie Goux, Becky Hill, Matt Olwell, Nic Gareiss, and Sharon Leahy. She has experience working with the Augusta Heritage Center and has taught and assisted beginner Appalachian step dancing workshops for events like the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Jackson Mill, and with the Fiddlers ReStrung. She is currently dancing with the CommonWealth Dance Collective based near Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her goal is to accurately represent past historical percussive dances, along with sharing her love of dance with others.

Emily Evans

Emily's interest in percussive dance began in 6th grade when she saw a tap performance for the first time in a school talent show. She took tap lessons with Susan Filipiak for several years and then took an Appalachian clogging class with Connie Jo Ferguson.

She began dancing again more than 15 years later when she moved back to Ann Arbor. Susan connected her with Sheila Graziano, and Emily has been learning clogging and traditional step dancing from Sheila, as well as Adam Wheeler, for the past few years. Emily completed a Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship with Sheila and has performed with The CommonWealth Dance Collective for the past three years

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Myron Grant

Myron’s musical background crosses many styles, starting with church choir when he was a kid, to rock-and-roll, folk, country, bluegrass, contra, swing, and jazz.  He has been playing professionally since 1968, starting with the rock band Loves Alchemyuntil 1973.  He then played concerts and festivals around the Midwest from the mid-70's to the early 90's with the eclectic acoustic group Footloose.  From the mid-90’s to 2013, he played concerts across the Midwest with the swing and jazz ensemble Five Guys Named Moe.  He is a founding member of these groups, as well as of his swing and jazz ensemble, Treetown Swingtette, from 2013 to the present. He’s also been playing rock n roll again with The Cellar Cats, and he has a folk ensemble, Playing Chicken that has been performing since 2016.He’s also played contra dances beginning in the 1980’s, with the Sharon Hollow String Band until 2015, and starting in 2011 to the present with Big Fun.  
With the Commonwealth Dance Collective (CDC), Myron has been playing guitar and harmonica since 2004 along with a fiddler, currently with Brad Battey who is also in Big Fun.  Myron is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, playing guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and the bones.  
Myron has a number of recordings over the years, beginning with the rock ‘n roll band, Love’s Alchemy, in1971.  He has eight recordings (vinyl to CDs) with Footloose,and one CD with Five Guys Named Moe.  He has also done studio work for Toyota and Dodge.

Brad Battey

Brad is an accomplished innovative fiddler of many styles from Contra and Squares to English, Swing, and Scandinavian. In addition to his work with the Commonwealth Dance Collective, Brad can be found playing contra and vintage dances around SouthEast Michigan most weeks with Debbie, Big Fun, The Ruffwater String Band, or other fabulous Michigan musicians. Brad has also been staff for dance weeks and weekends from Illinois to Denmark and Cape Breton to Texas. Along with his fiddling partner, Bruce Sagan, he recently produce an album of music in mostly Swedish style but composed by American musicians. Brad has also been known to play nyckelharpa for English and Scandinavian couple dancing

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