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Clogging classes provide fun and exercise

The Dixieland Cloggers are back and will soon be in tip-tap condition.

Led by X-ray technician Robyn Breakfield, who has been clogging since she was 7 years old, the group practices on Monday evenings at the Brookhaven Recreation Center.

Beginners meet at 5:30 p.m. and intermediate and advanced dancers practice at 6 p.m. This may change as the needs of classes change, she said.

As each dancer progresses and catches on to the steps — a mixture of Irish step dancing and tap dancing — they will eventually all move together into one class. That would be ideal since they will usually be performing together, she said.

Classes are $30 per month at the Brookhaven Recreation Department. Individuals interested in clogging don’t need clogging shoes or experience to get started.

Clogging shoes will need to be purchased at some point, and the experience will come, Breakfield said.

The shoes cloggers wear are not the same as tap shoes. Tap shoes have a secure tap on the heel and toe. On clogs, the taps are hinged and called “buck taps.” This creates a unique sound.

Breakfield started teaching classes in college to help her mother, who was her dance teacher.

“Other than that, this is my first class,” she said. “There was not a class in Brookhaven when I started this in 2003.”

When she started X-ray technology school in 2009, Breakfield had to give up teaching the class. Others stepped in to help. It’s only been within the past month that she has taken the class back over.

Students range in age from 5 to over 70. Breakfield’s daughters, ages 5 and 10, are two of her younger students. The sisters enjoy being a part of something their mother and grandmother do, she said.

“We dance for fun and exercise, but not in competitions,” Breakfield said.

She takes the dancers to nursing homes, some festivals and usually the state fair.

While there are no current plans for local recitals, the Mississippi Clogging Extravaganza will be held in Brookhaven this year, July 29-30, at the recreation center. Teams will perform that Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Duos, soloist and freestyle dancers will begin performing at 1 p.m. An admission will be charged and anyone from the public can attend.

Sunday’s activities are workshops for dancers with several professional instructors leading them.

For more information about Dixieland Cloggers or Breakfield’s classes, call 601-606-0786.