“Oh no, the neighbors never complained. I think they’re okay with that, ”Roger says with a smile.
What they are “okay with” is Roger, Margaret, and eight of their closest friends hiding over pieces of plywood in the driveway.
You’ve probably seen clogs dancing before, most recently in a funny commercial for Geico Insurance where we find out that a couple’s “plugging problem” is actually their neighbors upstairs eating spaghetti and dancing clogs.
It is believed that the hoof dance began in the Appalachians in the 1700s, when waves of Irish, Scottish, English, Dutch and German settlers brought their own folk dances to the area. The mixture of the different dances gave birth to what is called today the clogging.
“Clog” is a Gaelic word for “time” because the dance is done in rhythm with the music. In recent years, the patch has evolved to include Native American, African American, and Russian influences.
“It’s definitely an American art form,” says member DeDee Hallada. “All of these cultures came together and started making noise and that’s where it grew from.”
Hallada first tried patching in 1989 and helped form the group. Since then, the men and women of Fargo-Moorhead have gained and lost limbs. But this dedicated group – 68 years old on average – try to get together once a week to work on their routines.
They initially performed under the name “Clog Hoppers”, but then opted for a name change.
“We thought it might have sounded a bit too ‘Hee Haw’ so we went with the Solid Gold Cloggers and got the gold vests and everything,” Roger says.
Solid Gold Cloggers won first place at the Clay County Fair Talent show in 2001. Special for the Forum
Regardless of their name, the group has performed throughout the region at retirement homes, parades and festivals, even winning first place at the Clay County Fair Talent Show in 2001, earning them a spot in Minnesota. State Fair. COVID put a damper on much of their performance and forced them to train through Zoom.
But this summer, they met (socially distanced) to dance. Although their group is quite small, they welcome anyone who wants to come and see what it is. (And take my word for it, this is a lovely, welcoming bunch of people.)
No dance experience is necessary and the equipment is inexpensive. The special tap dancing they wear can be purchased at a dance store or online. Or they say come in your usual shoes and have fun.
They invited me to join them. So I deleted a few of my moves from tap dance a few years ago. (Steps, balls, changes and shuffles in Buffalo, that’s about all I remember.) I wasn’t quite ready to follow the calls yet. But Hallada says no one should be intimidated by complicated routines.
While Haglund, who makes most of the calls, is a retired math teacher, Hallada says he’s keeping it simple.
“If you know two, four, six and eight, you can do it,” says Hallada.
The practice I attended in early October was their last outdoor practice of the year. But as the cold sets in, they hope to continue meeting for exercise, fun, and camaraderie.
“It’s good exercise for body, mind and soul,” says Hallada. “I call it my soul (only) music, since I use my feet.”
If you want to know more about Solid Gold Cloggers, just send an email to [email protected]