Terry and Sandy Zellers began clogging around 1994 in Nevada and truly enjoyed the dancing. When they decided to move to North Carolina to be closer to their children and grandchildren, they were expecting to have an easy time finding a place to continue the hobby they had come to love.
“Clogging is the state dance of North Carolina,” says Zellers “We were sure there would be lots of opportunity, but there really wasn’t.”
They eventually did find a nationally renowned instructor who taught out of St. Luke’s Lutheran, but she had to give up providing lessons to care for an elderly parent.
Enter Michelle Hitselberger from the Senior Citizens Nutrition Program, who runs the senior feeding program out of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill.
“The hot lunch program for seniors age 60 and above runs Monday-Friday,” she says. “It is a way to make sure senior citizens have a hot, nutritious meal, for sure, but it really is a great avenue for socializing.”
And this is where she became friends with the Zellers.
“They are truly leaders in the community,” says Hitselberger. I’m always talking to the people who come in here to see what they’re passionate about, and the Zellers are certainly passionate about clogging.”
Zellers started the first class in March, which runs Mondays from 12:45-1:45 pm. Adults, senior adults, and homeschool students have been part of the first class. They came to the class with varying levels of ability.
“Clogging is a kick,” says Zellers. “We take our time and have fun.”
Instruction has continued over the summer, where attendance has been impacted by vacations, but Zellers hopes to start a beginner’s class and is looking for a space to do so. His current students would graduate to a more advanced class and he could add more levels as the number of class offerings increases.
“This is a free service,” says Zellers. “There is a donation box for the senior center if students want to make a contribution, but we do this for free.”
Clogging is a type of folk dance which got its humble beginnings in the traditions of European dancing from the British Isles where the dancer’s shoes are used to create rhythms that can be heard and which are incorporated into the dance. Dancers wear clogging shoes, which are very similar to tap shoes, except that clogging shoes have metal taps that come in two parts to allow them to make clicking sounds with the foot’s movement, and not relying solely on the tap’s contact with the floor, like tap shoes.
For further information, or if you would like to talk to Zellers about offering beginning clogging classes at your location, call 980-428-6895.