Stephanie Goodman was in her early teens when she declared, “I’m going to marry Mark Clifford someday.”
Her friend and teammate Whitney Braswell remembers it nicely.
“We were being in center college and Mark was this amazing, more mature, college or university man, and she was absolutely in like with him,” Ms. Braswell stated.
Spoiler notify: Ms. Goodman knew of what she spoke. Her adolescent crush would really stick, even though it would get additional than 20 a long time.
Ms. Goodman, now 35, was 12 when she observed Mr. Clifford carry out for the first time. They the two have been competitive cloggers, a fashion of folk dancing. In the United States, clogging originated in Appalachia. And whilst it can glance like faucet dancing to the untrained eye, there are distinctions, however now there is a great deal more crossover involving the two sorts. Clog dancing takes influences from Wales, Irish line, African folks and sq. dance. In spite of its identify, it is not performed in clogs in the United States. Although in its early many years it was done to fiddle and banjo, now routines are routinely choreographed to pop and hip-hop.
Mr. Clifford, now 44, is effectively-identified all through the clogging environment and past. He founded an all-male clogging troupe referred to as All That! The troupe competed in two seasons on NBC’s “America’s Received Expertise,” coming in second location all through Year 1, and has executed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and internationally. 4 members of All That!, which includes Mr. Clifford, execute six nights a week in a selection demonstrate at the Carolina Opry: Calvin Gilmore Theater in Myrtle Beach, S.C., wherever Mr. Clifford and Ms. Goodman now dwell. (The demonstrate took a monthslong hiatus in the course of the pandemic shutdown but then returned and is presently on winter season crack.) The troupe also does corporate functions and cruise ship gigs, as well.
Mr. Clifford is the youngest of 3 children of the late Vincent Clifford and Marie Clifford who lived in Charleston, S.C. where his father was primarily based Vincent Clifford spent 26 many years in the Navy, and then labored in actual estate.
Marie Clifford experienced been a tap dancer, so when her son confirmed an curiosity in clogging, she inspired him.
“I was into drums and preferred the seem your ft designed with it,” said Mr. Clifford, who was to start with motivated by viewing older boys undertaking it.
He was only 5 when he started clogging, and at age 6, he commenced karate classes. A speedy study in both, he realized how martial arts informed the fluidity of his actions in dance and vice versa. By the time he was 8, he was on his way to currently being a baby star in the aggressive clogging planet. Not so academically-minded, Mr. Clifford put all of his focus in both clogging and karate. (He is also a 3rd-degree brown belt, just small of a black belt.) His nonschool several hours were being taken up by competitions and the journey they involve.
“It just came really obviously to me,” Mr. Clifford claimed. “When I dance, I experience like a spinning best, flowing across the ground.”
Mr. Clifford did not see school in his future. But then he said Mars Hill University around Asheville, N.C., supplied him a clogging scholarship to guide their team, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. He graduated with a diploma in company communications and then turned pro, instructing and producing educational videos, and founding the troupe.
Ms. Goodman started clogging at age 10. She and her brother are the young children of Barry Goodman, who served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and labored in furniture upholstery, and Donna Goodman, who grew up on a small farm in Granite Falls, N.C. The loved ones were being regulars at Sims Region Bar-B-Que, a cafe and live music location with a substantial dance ground in Granite Falls.
Quickly they joined a crew: the Sims Place Cloggers. “My mom and I danced on a whole lot of phases collectively,” reported Ms. Goodman, who went on to contend in clogging in the Junior Olympics, in 2002 and 2003.
“I didn’t do any other extracurricular activities in school,” she claimed. “Like any sport, if it is your enthusiasm, you are consistently going to rehearsals, and then training on your own time, way too.”
Ms. Goodman also became a clogging instructor.
In these early times, at competitions, Ms. Goodman would history the men’s solo division on the family members camcorder, Mr. Clifford in unique.
When Ms. Goodman was 15, she shyly requested Mr. Clifford for his autograph she has a photo of them together from that trade.
In 2003, Mr. Clifford taught a master class for Ms. Goodman’s staff. She was now 19, he 28, and though he remembered her as one particular of the young cloggers with the camera, he couldn’t support but detect her natural beauty. He requested her out.
Though she had waited several years for this instant, he was her superstar crush, not anyone you go out with in real lifetime. She turned him down.
“I chickened out,” she explained. “I was genuinely intimidated.”
Although she instantly regretted it, in hindsight, Ms. Goodman now claims, “We the two had a great deal of growing up to do. Our stars hadn’t aligned just however.”
In the coming a long time, they each fulfilled a person, received married, and then divorced.
In 2011, they friended each and every other on Facebook. It was a social media friendship with very little interaction. She usually wished him properly ahead of he was going on tv, for case in point, but nothing at all a lot more than that.
At last, in 2012, in spite of continue to harboring the memory of remaining turned down by her decades previously, Mr. Clifford the moment once again asked her out. This time, Ms. Goodman, now retired from clogging and residing in her hometown, did not balk.
On their 1st day, they had dinner, and strolled all over Myrtle Beach’s Grande Dunes Marina. “The next we acquired with each other, it was like we were old mates, or had been with each other in one more life span,” Ms. Goodman mentioned. “It was like ‘oh, there you are.’”
Immediately after a number of dates, Ms. Goodman moved to Myrtle Seaside.
“I was not truly stunned, I believed it was sweet,” mentioned Ms. Braswell, the previous teammate of Ms. Goodman’s. “He tends to make her incredibly delighted and he’s seriously encouraged her to pursue her personal dreams, too.”
They before long moved in alongside one another, very first into an condominium, and then, afterwards, acquired a house. They got a dog and three cats.
But Mr. Clifford’s divorce had left him wary of relationship.
“Let’s be independent collectively,” was how he phrased it.
“We had a fantastic life and I felt fulfilled,” Ms. Goodman said, “so I didn’t want to force him.”
But as the many years went by, Mr. Clifford uncovered himself switching his tune.
“She’s my very first believed, and my previous believed, and really, my only imagined, all all through the day,” he claimed. “I experienced located the human being who makes me happy all the time.”
In August 2020, he recommended they go out to meal for the initially time considering that the shutdown. They ate at the exact same restaurant as they did on their 1st day, and at the time again, strolled along the marina. This time, he proposed with a custom made-created ring.
As they looked at dates and venues for a smaller marriage ceremony, very little about preparing it was straightforward.
“Things just usually align with us,” claimed Mr. Clifford. “And the wedding ceremony wasn’t happening like that.”
They had been on a cruise in January, 2020, and had fallen in appreciate with Puerto Rico. With the blessing of their people, they decided to elope. They settled on the date Jan. 21, 2021, and when Mr. Clifford scrolled via previous pictures on his cellular phone, he noticed they experienced been in San Juan on that correct day the calendar year prior to.
So on that date, they were being married by Tim Blackford of Peace Adore Weddings and a Universal Lifestyle Daily life minister, even though standing outside the house the walls of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro citadel in San Juan.
“He’ll go to each serious to make me content and do anything at all for me,” said Ms. Goodman, who is having Mr. Clifford’s identify. She just lately accomplished a certificate in cybersecurity and is in a yoga-instructor schooling system.
“He’s a learn of grand gestures,” she explained. “But at the end of the working day when it’s just us, even when he’s found me at my absolute worst, he enjoys me for me.”
On This Day
When Jan. 21, 2021
Where by At the Castillo San Felipe del Morro citadel in San Juan.
The Wedding day The few had a ceremony with Bible verses woven in as friends and family viewed on Fb. The only stay visitor was an iguana that wandered by. After they were being pronounced married, onlookers allow out a cheer.