BRANSON, Mo., June 16, 2012 — “There are almost 100 exciting live shows to see in Branson on a daily basis,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center “Those shows present a tremendous variety of music, representing just about every musical genre including ‘country,’ but it is safe to say that there is no other show in Branson, or as far as we know, country music show anywhere, that has integrated the art form of dancing, as elegantly and beautifully into their production as has been done in ‘Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express.'”
Based on seeing “Clay Cooper’s Country Express Show” on many occasions, as recently as Wednesday of this week, this writer would say “ditto” in terms of Johnson’s comments. Although, on a good day he could recognize the difference between a “Four Step” and a “Pirouette,” from a technical point of view he couldn’t say for sure what a “lift,” or any of a variety of other dancing moves are called. The good news is that he doesn’t have to. All, he and anyone else attending the show, has to do is sit back and enjoy the beauty, grace and elegance of the way Tina Cooper has seamlessly integrated dance into one of the most entertaining shows in Branson.
Tina Cooper, Clay’s wife, has been dancing since she was three years old, when she started training with her mom in her dancing studio, and singing since the age of 10. She started dancing professionally at Frontier City, in Oklahoma City in 1989 while attending the University of Oklahoma from which she received a “Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Music Theatre with a Minor in Dance.”
In 1996 Tina came to Branson as a member of the “Red,Hot and Blue” show and, shortly thereafter, also became a member of the “Country Tonite” show. It was as a member of the Country Tonite cast that she met Clay. Tina worked for both shows, dancing, singing and doing choreography until 2005 when she and Clay started their own show, “Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express.”
Although dancing was part of the Country Tonite Show, for the most part, it was only western style dancing. When they started their own show Tina wanted to use all forms of dance in their show. With her experience as a dancer and choreographer, and having a little pull with the show’s star, that became not only a reality, but one of the many exciting and different elements of one of Branson’s most popular shows.
Tina not only does all the choreography for the show, except for the clogging portion, but she sings and dances as well as handling a multitude of administrative responsibilities in connection with the show. When the show originally started there were four dancers. As more and different styles of dancing have developed been integrated into the show that number has grown to ten. this year.
She points out that whether it’s a seemingly “simple” line dance or a full scale production, that the dancing components of the show requires commitment, work, training and dedication on the part of their dancers on a daily basis. As this writer sat in the show this week he was again amazed, with the dancing, its choreography, costuming and the way it just seamlessly blended in with the total production. Whether it was a full cast production number like the “Footloose” segment or the beautifully haunting duet “To Make You Feel My Love” sung by Clay as Tina gracefully danced about him, the dance segment of the show adds its own element of excitement, action, and elegance to one of the most entertaining shows in town.
Here’s the amazing thing, although this article has stressed the dancing aspect of the show, every element of the show, from vocals, band and comedy to the interaction with the audience by the show’s star, Clay Cooper is as “top notch” as its dancing is. The result is one of the most entertaining and unique shows in Branson and a show that truly has something for everyone “and then some.”
For additional information or tickets for Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.