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The Clogging Experience

What is Clogging?

Clogging (or Appalachian Mountain Folk Dance) is an American folk dance that has its origins in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of the United States of America. While it has strong ties to the step dances of the British Isles brought to the region by white settlers, clogging is also influenced by the traditional dance of Native Americans, and the traditional solo dances of African Americans.

Clogging is a misnomer, since it is not performed in clogs, although some of the original step dances from Europe were. Nevertheless, the name persists, although in Appalachia, this form of percussive dance is often only known as buck dancing or flatfooting or just "dancing".

In the United States, clogging takes two major forms: traditional Appalachian flatfoot dance and precision (or modern) clogging.

Appalachian clogging can still be found in western North Carolina, West Virgina, southwestern Virginia, and other places in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Interest in Appalachian dance was significantly revived in the late 1970's by the Green Grass Cloggers. Cloggers in this style dance to live music; either the string band music of the southern Appalachian Mountains (featuring fiddle, banjo and guitar) or to bluegrass music.

Precision (or modern) clogging was developed around World War II, and is danced to a variety of music, usually recorded, including rock and country & western. Precision cloggers wear shoes with jingle taps. The emphasis of precision clogging is on everyone clogging the same step at the same time. This is the form of clogging danced most often in Australia.

More Clogging History

Clogging is a true American Folk Dance with roots buried deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains that run through the Eastern States of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.

In the mid 1700's, large numbers of Scottish, English, Irish and German immigrants settled in the Appalachians, bringing with them their traditional folk dances.

Many Clogging steps are reminiscent of Scottish Highland dancing or Irish Step dancing. Other Clogging steps with a distinct military sound are thought to have come from Germany.

Clogging of old was done impromptu to foot-tapping bluegrass music that also has its roots in the Appalachians. As clogging moved out of the mountains to the flatlands, special taps were added to give the dance its distinctive sound.

Clogging in Australia

Clogging has in recent times spread to all parts of the world, including Japan, England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as many European Countries.

Since Clogging was established in Australia, it has spread to all capital cities and many regional areas.

During its time in Australia, it has become a most enjoyable dance form for all ages, with club members ranging from under 5 to over 75 years (and some who won't tell how old they are).

Because of the population of Cloggers within Australia, the Australian Clogging Association was formed to enable greater communication and advancement of Clogging in this country. The A.C.A. Inc. is a very successful Association due to the ongoing support of cloggers.

General Information

Music:

Clogging is performed to a wide variety of music ranging from country through rock, pop and rap. Initially the music is fairly slow, but as dancers progress in the activity, it can become quite fast.

Partners:

No partner is required for Clogging which means you may learn at your own pace, without affecting anyone else.

Clothing:

Any comfortable clothing is appropriate for Clogging, however cool clothing is suggested as you may get warm while dancing.

Shoes:

Any comfortable enclosed shoes may be worn to classes and as Cloggers progress in their lessons, taps are bought and added to shoes to produce the distinctive Clogging sound.

Cues / Calls:

Clogging is "Cued" similar to square dancing or aerobics, therefore dancers learn "Steps" not routines.


CLOGGING CAN BE AN ENERGETIC ACTIVITY, HOWEVER DANCERS MAY VARY THE INTENSITY OF THE EXCERCISE DEPENDING ON THEIR AGE, HEALTH AND DESIRES. MEDICAL SPECIALISTS HAVE SAID THAT CLOGGING IS BETTER EXERCISE THAN JOGGING AS IT HAS A LESSER IMPACT ON JOINT MUSCLES, PROVIDING WARM UPS ARE DONE CORRECTLY.