‘Down South Dance’
When: 11 p.m. Wednesday
Where: TLC channels 33 or 55
Click here for a sneak preview
Reality television shows aren’t exactly known for clearing up misconceptions, but one local dance team hopes a new show will tell the truth about their sport.
Synergy, a two-time national championship clogging team based in Cumming, will be featured in a one-hour special to air on TLC at 11 p.m. Wednesday night. The show will air immediately after another Georgia-based reality show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."
The show, "Down South Dance" follows the team through the intense training period before a competition with their rivals from South Carolina.
"Basically we’re just sick of being asked if we wear wooden shoes and if we do hoedowns," Sarah Darby, director of Sole Impulse Dance Studio and Synergy, said.
"The sport has come so, so far — over the last 10 years even. We’re the back-to-back national champions, and we were just like ‘you know what, this is a great way to show the entire country what clogging really is.’"
The traditional dance that was once characterized by wooden shoes and barn dance floors has evolved. These days, the dancers incorporate other contemporary dance forms, like hip hop, into their routines while they move their feet to the beat of popular artists.
"Clogging has always managed to take whatever the current dance craze is and (infuse) it. In the ’70s we had disco, and now we’re using hip hop and crunk and street dancing. It’s neat because your feet will (do) the clogging and your upper body will (do) the other dance forms," said Lisa Crow, a clogger whose daughter will be featured on the show.
The show will feature two of the teen team’s members: Mary-Kathleen Crow, 15, and Brittany Griggs, 14. The girls have danced together as duo partners for the last four years and are both standout solo dancers. Mary-Kathleen Crow is a three-time overall national champion solo clogger.
While neither girl is a stranger to the stage, they’re both very excited to see their reality television debut.
"I didn’t really ever think I’d be on TV for dancing. But it’s cool, it’s a good thing to be on TV for," Brittany said.
Mary-Kathleen Crow said the entire experience is starting to feel very real.
"I didn’t really believe it until they actually came and were actually putting the microphone on me and filming," said Mary-Kathleen.
Darby said there was a little concern about how her team would be portrayed in the show, but overall the purpose behind doing the show was to showcase a dance form and the "huge underworld" of clogging competition teams.
But clogging is about more than competitions and fame for the Synergy dance crew. It’s about family.
Darby has been teaching the dance style for 10 years and has kept up with many of her students since then. She said she feels more like a big sister to her students than a teacher.
"We’re more like sisters that dance. It’s really like a family environment," Darby said.
For some, that family environment is a bit more literal.
Mary-Kathleen Crow is part of a three-generation clogging family. Her mother Lisa and niece Tori Crow, 6, are all award-winning cloggers.
"Clogging is a huge part of our lives. It’s something we do as a family, and our feet never stop moving," Lisa Crow said.
The Crow gals have been known to clog down grocery store aisles, Lisa Crow said.
Mary-Kathleen said clogging keeps her family close.
"We spend all our time together. I can’t really get away from them," she said laughing.