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Clogging

Objective: Students will learn about the history of clogging and learn a basic clogging step.

Materials:
Camp Creek Boys CD or other old time string band music
items for making taps (optional)
bottle caps
hammer
8" long elastic strips or rubber bands
hot glue gun
scrap paper

Introduction:
Clogging is a style of dance that developed in the Appalachian mountains. It is a rhythmic step dance that keeps the beat of the music with the feet tapping and shuffling. Clogging was traditionally done to old time string band music, but clogging teams today dance to many types of music.

The roots of clogging are in the folk dances of the Irish, Scottish, British and German people who settled in the Appalachian mountains in the mid 1700s. The rich dance heritage of the African Americans also greatly influenced clogging and introduced more syncopation and body movement to the dances. By the turn of the 20th century, predominately in urban areas, all of these influences culminated into what we now call tap dancing.

In the more isolated rural areas of the South, clogging continued as a separate style from tap dancing. In addition to the European and African influences, elements of Native American dance could be seen in the clogging styles that continued in these rural areas. Clogging was known by many different names such as flatfooting, foot stomping and buck dancing and was generally an individual style of dance.

Around the early 1900s many cloggers began to add the clogging steps to the square dances that were popular at that time. In the late 1920s, Bascom Lamar Lunsford helped to popularize this type of team clogging by adding it as a category in his Mountain Dance and Folk Festival held in Asheville, North Carolina. One of the groups that became well known at this festival and around the region was the Soco Gap Dance Team.

It is believed that we have the Soco Gap Dancers and the Queen of England to thank for the term clogging becoming the common term for this type of dance. The story goes that during a 1939 visit to the White House where the Soco Gap Dancers were performing, the Queen commented that the group's dancing reminded her of the clog dancers they had seen in the north of England. The name stuck and continues to be used today.

As Square Dancing became more popular, there were festivals and competitions held around the country. Cloggers joined in these festivals. Precision clogging teams, where all of the team members danced in unison, became popular. The Green Grass Cloggers from the Asheville area toured the country in the 1980s performing and teaching clogging workshops.

Procedure:
The basic clog step:
Count out a steady beat: 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,etc.
Step your right foot on beats 1, 2, with your left foot on beat 3, 4

Now, shift to the toe of the opposite foot in between beats 1,2 and 3,4 and count it like this: 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 1 & 2, 3 & 4

Add a slight kick before beat one (rt. foot) and beat 3 (l. foot) and count it like this: and a 1 & 2 and a 3 & 4

The last part is to let your toe lightly brush the floor twice on the kick (once on the outward part of the kick and once as the foot comes back) If you call this a shuffle, then the pattern is counted like this:
shuffle right left right, shuffle left right left
You are now doing the basic clogging step. Turn on the music and try to do this basic clogging step up to speed.

Make taps for your shoes: (Do not use these taps on wooden gym floors, hard wood floors or linoleum floors as they might scratch them. These taps work well on concrete.)
Shoe taps for clogging - Use the hammer to flatten the bottle caps.
Staple or sew together the two ends of the elastic strip.
- Hot glue the flattened bottle cap to the elastic band or to a rubber band.
- Press a piece of scrap paper against the hot glue holding the rubber band. This will help spread the glue and make it hold better. Leave the paper attached.
- Put the taps on the toes and heels of your shoes.

 

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