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Ormond Beach Observer Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 3 months ago

Residents get their kicks in clogging class

Dancers bring home trophy from state convention.
by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

Clogging is not the right word. There’s nothing cloggy about the dance that’s done by the Speed City Cloggers, of Ormond Beach. It’s lively, fun and done to modern dance music.

Brianna Cassisi, director, says it’s an exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, and it provides a social opportunity. A dancer does not need a partner and makes new friends at the classes.

The Speed City Cloggers are a year-round class at the Elite Academy of Music and Motion, 142 E. Granada Blvd. in the Fountain Square Shoppes. There’s a 12-week beginner’s class that begins in January.

The clogging class functions as a club, and recently returned from a Florida Clogging Council convention in Haines City with a second-place trophy. They’ve gone to the convention three times and this was the second time they’ve returned with a trophy.

Several dancers at a recent class said there’s no pressure or judgement in the class.

“It’s all for fun,” said Debbie Jervis, of Ormond Beach. ‘You forget you’re exercising. The next thing you know you’re doing a dance you didn’t know what you can do.”

After moving to Ormond Beach, Jervis saw an ad for the clogging class.

“I always wanted to do tap and this is similar,” she said.

One misconception is that cloggers wear wooden shoes, Cassisi said. The shoes are similar to tap, with extra metal pieces at the heel and toe to make a jingling sound.

Currently the ages range from 30 to 80 in the class, which numbers 15 to 18.

Pam Connor, of Ormond Beach, danced with the Ormond Follies for 15 years, and now does her dancing in the clogging class.

“I’m just loving this. She’s fabulous. She’s fun,” she said, referring to the teacher, Cassisi.

Some of the dancers have tap dancing in their background, such as Betsy Levin, 80, who has danced all her life, even entertaining the troops with the USO.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “You meet nice people. You get your body moving.”

The camaraderie is what Chona Wylie, a psychiatrist who lives in Ormond Beach, enjoys the most.

“It’s great to be with people,” she said. “Share the love.”

Rose Ann Felice said it’s good for her brain.

“You have to learn the music,” she said. “You have to count and stay on the beat.”

Cassisi, who learned clogging at the age of 13 and eventually became certified as a teacher, said clogging gained a lot of popularity in the 1980s, with the growth of River Dance. There’s now another upswing, she said.

“It’s a uniquely American dance,” she said.

Clogging developed in the Appalachian region, where it derived from European folk dances.




Elite Academy celebrated its five-year anniversary last year, and a wide range of musical instruments and voice are taught there. Over the years, they doubled their space in Fountain Square Shops and now have about 165 students.

Damian Bonazzoli, owner, said many students are adults who have taken up an instrument late in life, and they do very well, even with no musical background.

While the Internet has hindered other businesses, he said people who want to learn music find personal instruction much better than searching for lessons on the Internet.

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