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Clogging for the fun of it, and the friends

No wooden shoes are necessary for this kind of clogging with Huntington Beach group.

January 02, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Gregg Nevitt, president of the Apple Creek Cloggers in Huntington Beach, poses with his and his wife's modified sneaker clogs.
Gregg Nevitt, president of the Apple Creek Cloggers in… (KEVIN CHANG )

It was a shared passion for dancing that brought Gregg Nevitt and his wife, Cami together.

"We met square dancing," Nevitt said. "At that point, I'd also been clogging for eight years. And so while we were dating, she started taking classes."

Today, 24 years later, the Nevitts, residents of Anaheim and active members of the Huntington Beach-based Apple Creek Cloggers, revel in the joy of their shared hobby.

According to Nevitt, clogging is a form of American folk dance best described as a cross between tap dance and western line dancing.

"This isn't clogging with Dutch wooden shoes," he said. "It is Appalatian mountain-style clogging and is more like what you would see on Riverdance."

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The percussionary dance form includes a lot of quick foot movements, such as double toe-action, toe and heel tapping and stomping. Some dances contain minor arm routines, but mostly the arms help dancers maintain balance.

While footwear plays a central role in clogging, dancers can wear any style of shoes, ranging from tennis to dance shoes, with metal taps attached to the toes and heels of each one. As a general rule, the dress is casual and varied, with people turning up in sweaters, shorts, and also dresses.

"I enjoy clogging because it's a great form of exercise," said Nevitt, 49, who was introduced to clogging in 1980 by a friend. "It's not like jogging where you're out by yourself on the road and it's good cardio. Being a form of dance, its also very social and we get to interact and spend time with a vast number of people."

As a group, the Apple Creek Cloggers is a 65-person strong clogging club, which meets every Monday for classes and hosts a dance on the second Saturday of every month. While some clubs use community centers or other recreational venues, this one uses the cafeteria at the First United Methodist Church of Huntington Beach.

"We attend classes to learn different steps — dozens of different steps — and specific routines that go with each song," Nevitt explained. "At the dance, we just get together, our cuer puts on music and we dance — there's no instruction."

The monthly dances cost $5 per person and last from 7 to 10 p.m. Open to members from other clubs, it also features a potluck dinner with attendees contributing a variety of treats.

"Sometimes I like to say that we're an eating club that likes to clog," Nevitt joked.

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