A Group Of East Texas Cloggers Have Fun And Stay In Shape

A group of East Texans has found a fun way to stay in shape, clogging.   It's a folk dance that's been around since the 1800's and is gaining national attention on a network talent show called America's Got Talent. One group of cloggers even made it to the semi-finals.  It's a dance for both men and women, young and old.

The DownHome Cloggers are a group of men, women, and children who love to perform.

"This is a group that started about eight years ago," said Ellen Lane, instructor. "The group is made up from kidos in the age from about 8 to 9 up to should I say this, 73." Lane and her husband have been clogging for 23 years.

"It just gets in your heart and once you start dancing and once you start clogging it's just a blast," said Lane.   "We do it to country music. We do it to blue grass music. We dance to pop. We dance to rap."  Clay McBride, 16 has been clogging for four years.

"It's fun," said McBride. "Like I love clogging. I'm actually on a competition clogging team. The first one in Texas, so I love it."   Dancing right next to McBride, with a big smile, is 74-year-old Mary Ann Collier.

"Everyone can do this," said Collier. "It takes a little bit of stamina. If you're in good shape you can do it, and it will put you in good shape." That's one reason why John Hargrave does it. He says his wife lured him into clogging three and a half years ago.

"Normally, during the winter I can blow up 20 or 30 pounds because I travel a lot, but it's keeping my weight down, and when I'm on the road working, I clog in my hotel room," said Hargrave.   The question is, is it hard?

"No, no, no," said Collier. "It's different."

"No, like you take it slow," said McBride. "You start from beginner and move up like that, and it's real easy. Once you learn the basics you can go on to do anything you want." Like dance with these fine people, who are having fun and burning some calories at the same time.

The group is made up of people from all over East Texas. The cloggers often perform at festivals and in nursing homes. This weekend, they will be performing the dance you just saw at a clogging workshop in Waco.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com