Objective: Students will learn about the history of clogging and
learn a basic clogging step.
Camp Creek Boys CD or other old time string band music
items for making taps (optional)
8" long elastic strips or rubber bands
hot glue gun
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.
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.)
- 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
- 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
- Put the taps on the toes and heels of your shoes.
Copyright © 2000 Satisfied Mind