“And a five, six, Charleston go.”
“Add a rockin’ chair, a kangaroo and rock step.”
On Wednesday evenings in a side room off the main restaurant area at the Mustang Grill and Bar in Archer, half a dozen cloggers are rehearsing a routine.
“Then some hand clapping as you spin around and, at the end, take a bow,” says teacher Katie Stakely.
These are the same dancers who recently performed at an event at the Gainesville Harley Davidson and put on a show in Cedar Key. With a dance recipe in her hand, Stakely is calling out the moves and the group dances in synchronicity.
Stakely, who serves as the secretary for the Florida Clogging Council (FCC) said she has been dancing most of her life.
“I started as a kid,” she said. And when she ran into fellow clogger Pat Bowden at work one day, they compared clogging dance backgrounds and joined forces with other cloggers and teachers in the area, including teacher Kathy Lynch.
The group is rebooting now that the pandemic shut downs and cancellations are mostly a thing of the past. And when Mustang Grill and Bar owner Shaun Willis offered them a space to practice, they found a place to call home on Wednesday evenings.
According to Lynch, classes for beginners and intermediate/advanced cloggers will relaunch in two weeks. She posted the schedule on the Facebook group “Clogging at The Mustang Grill.”
Each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m, the intermediate and advanced dancers will practice for an hour, then lessons will start for beginners at 6:30 p.m.
According to the FCC website, clogging groups aim to preserve the heritage and styles of the dance, which members say is a blend of English clogging, Irish step dancing and German clogging.
“We strive to promote the growth of our many affiliated groups around the state by establishing a common ground for all to come together, share ideas and routines, and celebrate the art of clogging,” the site says.
Lynch is hoping the group will grow but for now, space is limited. She suggests that those interested sign up as soon as possible and then show up on Wednesday evenings.
The next “Intro to Clogging” class starts at 7:15 p.m. on May 5 and no prior dance experience required, according to Lynch.
“Clogging is fun, develops friendships and is great exercise for the mind and body.”
Lynch said donations are appreciated and will help with clogging related expenses. She said students can sign up by messaging her on Facebook or by calling 352-246-5000.
Clogging or tap shoes are not required for beginners, but Lynch says to wear flat shoes with little or no traction because sneakers can stick to the floor: “Clogging shoes are similar to tap shoes with an extra metal plate—they are NOT wooden shoes.”