Local dance instructor Merril Gardner is taking her passion for clogging to the youth of Bundaberg, providing workshops for those wishing to start up a new hobby.
Clogging has been an activity Merril has always had a love for and said it was the perfect opportunity to make friends and polish up those health and fitness goals.
“It is definitely a fun form of dancing with a strong focus on social interaction,” she said.
“Clogging is also great for your brain because you have to learn the steps and the sequence.
“It’s physically and mentally challenging.”
Youth Clogging workshops
Following its establishment in two areas of Australia during the early 1980s, Merril said clogging had since expanded to include a variety of clubs in each State.
“The Australian Clogging Association Coordinating Committee was formed in 1987 to enable greater communication and advancement of clogging in this country,” she said.
Now, Merril said her goal was to continue to teach the youth of Bundaberg all about the form of dance in a fun and friendly environment.
“Clogging continues to evolve and has become an exciting, fun form of dance for all ages,” she said.
“I am trying to promote youth clogging in our area and felt the best way to gain interest in it is to bring two instructors up from Brisbane who have travelled to America to gain extra experience in this genre of dance.”
Merril, who started teaching clogging in 2015, said she had organised a youth workshop to showcase the style of dance to a younger audience.
Dancers Amanda Lim and Nathan Ballard will be travelling to Bundaberg on Saturday, 18 January for the Youth Clogging Workshop.
Both dancers have a long history in clogging, with the duo conducting classes in both Brisbane and Canberra.
History of clogging
According to Merril, clogging originated deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains that run through the eastern states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia in the USA.
“It is a true American folk dance,” she said.
“Clogging was originally done impromptu to foot-tapping, bluegrass music.
“As clogging moved out of the mountains to the flatlands, special taps were added to give the dance its distinctive sound.”
Merril said many other dance styles had influenced the modern form of clogging practiced today, including Scottish Highland dancing, Irish step dancing, German folk dance, tap and Canadian step dancing.
Merril said there were many benefits to clogging and the style of dance could be practiced by all ages.
“Clogging encourages participation for all ages, at all levels, with the focus on good mental and physical health and above all just having fun,” she said.
To find out more about the youth workshops, contact Merril on 0409 515 588 or email [email protected]