Clogging 01

Clogging is a type of folk dance with roots in traditional European dancing, early African-American dance,[1] and traditional Cherokee dance in which the dancer's footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe, or both in unison against a floor or each other to create audible percussive rhythms. The dance has fused with similar dances such as the Peruvian dance "zapateo" (which may in itself be a derivate of very early European clog dances), this resulted in the birth of newer street dances, such as tap, locking, jump, stomping and the Nordic track dance. The use of clogs is rarer in the more modern dances since clog shoes seem no longer to be a fashion in urban society (of which most dances are now evolving from). Clogging in its main form is often considered the first dance to be classed as a street dance, this is since it evolved in urban environments during the industrial revolution due to urbanisation.

Clogging was social dance in the Appalachian Mountains as early as the 18th century.

As the clogging style has migrated over the years, many localities have made contributions by adding local steps and rhythms to the style. Welsh seamen appear to have adopted a dance very early on and may have been those who introduced it to the British Isles.[citation needed] As the dance migrated to England in the 15th century,[citation needed] the all-wooden clog was replaced by a leather-topped shoe with a one-piece wooden bottom. By the 16th century a more conventional leather shoe with separate wooden pieces on the heel and toe called "flats" became popular, from where the terms "heel and toe" and "flat footing" derive.

In later periods it was not always called "clogging", being known variously as flat-footing, foot-stomping, buck dancing, clog dancing, jigging, or other local terms. What all these had in common was emphasizing the downbeat of the music by enthusiastic footwork. As for the shoes many old clogging shoes had no taps and some were made of leather and velvet, while the soles of the shoes were either wooden or hard leather.




Clog dancing is traditional in Wales and is a regular feature of both local and national eisteddfodau. Competition can be energetic with the dancers leaping over brooms. "Welsh Clog Dancing is not like North-West or Lancashire Step. It is not a revival, as it is danced in the style of the unbroken tradition."[2] Welsh clog dancing is stylistically distinct from English clog dancing.


Cecil Sharp frequently encountered step dancing, clog dancing and North West morris dancing (a type of morris often performed in clogs, but not the same as clog dancing) in his search for folk dances in England, but it was Maud Karpeles who was more effective in documenting some of these dances.[citation needed] She encountered groups of North West morris dancers in the North-West of England. Her book The Lancashire Morris Dance was published in 1930.[3] In 1911 John Graham had published Lancashire and Cheshire Morris Dances from the same area. Both in the USA and in England clog dancing was also known as "buck and wing" dancing. The "wing" referred to is the step where a foot is kicked out to one side, striking the ground as it goes.

Clog dancing traditions still exist in some festivals in Northumberland, and are danced to the traditional music of the area. Clog dancing is also still practiced in parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire and there are teams dancing the Northern traditional dances (and newer ones) in many other parts of England. Clog dance competitions currently held in England include the Lancashire and Cheshire Clog Dancing Contests (focussing on Lancashire style clog dancing) held every September as part of the Fylde Folk Festival in Fleetwood, and the Northern Counties Clog Dancing Championships (focussing on Durham and Northumberland style clog dancing) held every year in Tyne and Wear.

Industrial Revolution and after

Clog dancing was a common pastime in 19th century England.[4] It is thought to have developed in the Lancashire cotton mills where wooden-soled clogs were preferred to leather soles because the floors were kept wet to help keep the humidity high, important in cotton spinning.[citation needed] Clog dancers were a common sight at music halls throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Dan Leno became the world champion clog dancer in the 1880s, although records show that competitive clog dancing was a frequent occurrence throughout the 19th century.[4]

English clog dancing started in the Industrial Revolution.[citation needed] Workers sitting at the weaving machines wore hard-soled shoes, which they would tap to the rhythms of the machines to keep their feet warm. At their breaks and lunches, they would have competitions, where they were judged on the best rhythm patterns. In later years of the Industrial Revolution,[clarification needed] they clog-danced on proper stages at competitions. In these competitions, the judges would watch the routine and judge it according to footwork, precision, and technique.

United States

Clogging is the official state dance of Kentucky and North Carolina.


In daU.S. team clogging originated from square dance teams in Asheville, North Carolina's Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (1928),[5] organized by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in the Appalachian region.

American Clogging is associated with the predecessor to bluegrass"old-time" music, which is based on Irish and Scots-Irish fiddle tunes. Clogging developed from aspects of English, Irish, German, and Cherokee step dances, as well as African rhythms and movement. It was from clogging that tap dance eventually evolved. Now, many clogging teams compete against other teams for prizes such as money and trophies. An interesting bit of clog dancing is seen in the film Deliverance during the dueling banjo/guitar scene when the old gas station guy does a very shaky bit of clogging


Solo dancing (outside the context of the big circle dance) is known in various places as buck dance, flat-footing, hoedown, jigging, sure-footing, and/or stepping. These names vary in meaning from place to place, and dancers do not always agree on their use. The term 'buck', as in buck dancing, is traceable to the West Indies and is derived from a Tupi Indian word denoting a frame for drying and smoking meat; the original 'po bockarau', or buccaneers were sailors who smoked meat and fish after the manner of the Indians.[6] Another source states that the word "bockorau" can be traced to the "Angolan" word "buckra', and was used to refer to white people,[7][8] which is disputed.[9] Eventually the term came to describe Irish immigrant sailors whose Jig dance was known as 'the buck.'" [1]

One source states that buck dancing was the earliest combination of the basic shuffle and tap steps performed to syncopated rhythms in which the accents are placed not on the straight beat, as with the jigs, clogs, and other dances of European origin, but on the downbeat or offbeat, a style derived primarily from the rhythms of African tribal music.[10]

Buck dancing was popularized in America by minstrel performers in the late 19th century. Many folk festivals and fairs utilize dancing clubs or teams to perform both Buck and regular clogging for entertainment.

Traditional Appalachian clogging is characterized by loose, often bent knees and a "drag-slide" motion of the foot across the floor, and is usually performed to old-time music.

Competitive clogging

Four organizations sanction competitive events in the modern American clog dancing world.

The longest running of the organizations, the National Clogging and Hoedown Council, began in 1974 and is now a part of the C.L.O.G. National Clogging Organization. The sanctioning body hosts its annual grand championships at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee each Labor Day Weekend. The N.C.H.C. was influential in establishing the basic rules and scoring guidelines that have shaped clogging competition. Information about the organization can be found on its website at .

America’s Clogging Hall of Fame (ACHF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the old time square dance and clogging. ACHF was founded by Dan and Sandy Angel in 1981. ACHF calls the Stompin’ Grounds in Maggie Valley, North Carolina its home.

ACHF sanctions many competitions throughout the year where teams and dancers can qualify to compete in the ACHF National Championships dance-off the last full weekend in October at the Stompin’ Grounds. Any team finishing 1st or 2nd with each dance in TWO sanctioned competitions qualifies to compete at the World Championships Dance-Off. Also, all grand champion solo winners at each sanctioned event earn the opportunity to compete in October for a chance to dance on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

America’s Clogging Hall of Fame honors many of its dancers at the October Championships. An All-American Clogging Team is selected each year through a nominating and selection process in which 24 of our best dancers are chosen. ACHF also selects 16 dancers to the Junior All-American Team and 4 dancers to the Senior All-American Team each year. These dancers are showcased at the National Championships. Also honored at the National Championships are at least two individuals who are inducted into America’s Clogging Hall of Fame. These inductees have been clogging for at least 25 years and have been a positive influence in the preservation of the dance. College scholarships are also awarded in October for up to three deserving students.

The ACHF competition year runs from October 1 to September 30. A list of those competitions and information is available on the organization's website at

Clogging Champions of America (C.C.A.) was formed in 1998 to generate more activity and interest in clogging and competition, to promote a spirit of fun and fellowship, and to make sure the beginner clogger will get to enjoy competing as much as the clogger who has been in it for years. The goal of C.C.A. is to create an atmosphere of spirited and sportsmanlike competition, and to provide more opportunities for cloggers within the competitive and entertainment realms. Competition, C.C.A. feels, is a healthy and entertaining part of clogging because it offers dancers the opportunity to travel to different locations – meeting new clogging friends, step sharing, and supporting each other competitively.

C.C.A. devised a system to give the amateur dancers a chance to gain their self-esteem and prepare them to finally compete against more experienced teams. At any Clogging Champions of America affiliated event, a team qualifying as an Amateur – having never won a first place honor in a clogging competition, may compete under Amateur status now for two (2) C.C.A. calendar years, January to December. At each Clogging Champions of America event, the top three scoring teams in each category and division of Challenge, including Junior and Senior, will qualify to dance at the Showdown of Champions which will be held at the beginning of the following year. The top four scoring teams in each category of Amateur will also qualify for the next year’s Showdown of Champions. You only need to qualify once per category, but you may dance at any or all affiliated competitions, and you will receive “Star” Points for doing so. In 2011, the C.C.A. organization added a STARZ level of competition to its events which gives competitors the chance to be judged against a point system rather than each other, making every dancer recognized.

To recognize clogging’s brightest, C.C.A. devised the Showdown of Champions, which brings together the winners from the best competitions in the country to compete under one roof. We[who?] also recognize the Solo dancer. First place Solo winners in each age division from each competition will qualify for the Showdown of Champions. The Showdown of Champions draws the most geographically diverse attendance of any of the sanctioning bodies, with teams from East to West Coast participating on a regular basis. The organization's website is

America Onstage is a clogging and dance competition circuit based in Utah. The organization hosts events in Utah, Idaho and Arizona during the months of February through May culminating in a three weekend dance-off at Lagoon Amusement Park. The organization's website is

Modern competitive clogging, also called precision clogging is inspired by traditional styles but performed to a wide variety of music, including bluegrass, modern country, rock music, pop, and hip hop. Today competitive precision clogging has several sanctioning bodies that oversee competitions held throughout the United States, with the majority located in the southeastern states. Also the style has evolved from flat foot to dancing on the balls of the feet. Toe stands are a recent adaptation from other dance forms. These high-energy styles have opened the forum to a wide audience with hundreds of workshops and competitions every year.

Fusion, or the adding of new styles into another, has affected clogging in recent years. Fusion has brought popularity to clogging as well as greater recognition.[citation needed]

Clogging are often black, white, or black and white. Some people feel that white shoes are better at attracting attention from an audience.[citation needed] Clogging shoes generally have taps that are double taps or "jingle taps". This makes it so there are four taps on each shoe—-two on the toe, and two on the heel. One is securely fastened to the shoe, while the other is more loosely fastened and hits both the floor and the fastened tap while dancing or simply walking about. Cloggers with this type of tap can be heard on carpet as well as hard surface floors.

One more recent example of clogging is the dance show America's Best Dance Crew on MTV, where Dynamic Edition danced their way through the 3rd season, all the way to 5th place. Another recent example of clogging is a talent show America's Got Talent on NBC, where Extreme Dance FX from Season 3 and Fab Five from Season 4 danced their way of clogging.

Green Grass style clogging is a relatively recent style of Appalachian "folk clogging" developed by and associated with the Green Grass Cloggers of Greenville, North Carolina (and later also of Asheville, North Carolina). They began in 1971 as students at East Carolina University in Greenville. Their style is not traditional flatfooting, nor is it traditional mountain-style clogging, or contemporary precision clogging, but it is a form of precision clogging in the sense that it features choreographed routines where the dancers are all dancing in unison (same steps at the same time), while moving through figures. The figures are taken from western square dancing, rather than from traditional southern Appalachian dancing. It is usually performed to old-time music.


Traditional dancing in the Netherlands is often called "Folkloristisch", sometimes "Boerendansen" ("farmer-dancing") or "Klompendansen" (clog dancing). [11] Wooden shoes are worn as an essential part of the traditional costume for Dutch clogging, or Klompendanskunst. Clogs for dancing are made lighter than the traditional 700-year-old design. The soles are made from ash wood, and the top part is cut lower by the ankle. Dancers create a rhythm by tapping the toes and heels on a wooden floor.

In 2006, nearly 500 teenagers attempted the "Guinness Book of World Records" bid for the largest number of clog dancers.[12] It took place in The Hague. They were dancing the ballet version of the Dutch clog dance rather than the folk version. The ballet "La Fille Mal Gardée" contains a well-known clog dance. For this specific dance the choreography was created by Stanley Holden (1928–2007), though Frederick Ashton took overall responsibility for it.

See also


  1. ^ Michael Ann Williams, Great Smoky Mountains folklife, p. 54.
  2. ^ Welsh Dance
  3. ^ The Lancashire Morris dance: containing a description of the Royton Morris dance; collected and edited by Maud Karpeles. London: f. English Folk Dance Society by Novello; New York: H. W. Gray, [1930] (accompanied by: tunes as pianoforte arrangements by Arnold Foster. Rush cart lads – The girl I left behind me – Corn rigs, or, Sawney was tall – Radstock jig – Balquhidder lasses – Shepton hornpipe – Nancy Dawson, or, Cross Morris)
  4. ^ a b Wallis, Lucy (11 December 2010). "Is clog dancing making a comeback?". BBC News. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "History of clogging". Adelaide Bluegrass Cloggers. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Hashaw, Tim (2007) Children of Perdition: Melungeons and the struggle of mixed America. Mercer University Press; p. 42 ISBN 0881460133
  8. ^ Tim Hashaw, Children of perdition: Melungeons and the struggle of mixed America, p. 42.
  9. ^ Igbos in Virginia
  10. ^ Ames, Jerry & Siegelman, Jim (1977) The Book of Tap. David McKay Company ISBN 0-679-50615-2; p. 41
  11. ^ "Folk Dancing in the Netherlands". Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "Young dancers clog up The Hague". BBC News. 9 July 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 

Further reading

  • Spalding, Susan Eike & Woodside, Jane Harris, eds. (1995) Communities in Motion: dance, community, and tradition in America's Southeast and beyond. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Clogging — Clog ging, n. Anything which clogs. Dr. H. More. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Clogging — Clog Clog, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Clogged} (kl[o^]gd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Clogging}.] 1. To encumber or load, especially with something that impedes motion; to hamper. [1913 Webster] The winds of birds were clogged with ace and snow. Dryden. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • clogging — adjective preventing movement (Freq. 1) the clogging crowds of revelers overflowing into the street • Syn: ↑hindering, ↑impeding, ↑obstructive • Similar to: ↑preventive, ↑preventative …   Useful english dictionary

  • Clogging — Забивание (краской отдельных участков формы) …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • clogging — klÉ’g n. wooden shoe; blockhead v. block, plug up; interfere, hold back; dance in clogs …   English contemporary dictionary

  • clogging — Cheating with cogged or loaded dice …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • clogging equity of redemption — Imposing upon a mortgage an agreement whereby the mortgagor forfeits, clogs, or fetters his equity of redemption. 15 Am J2d Chat Mtg § 241; 36 Am J1st Mtg § 184 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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  • contact clogging — kontaktų užteršimas statusas T sritis radioelektronika atitikmenys: angl. contact clogging; contact contamination vok. Kontaktverschmutzung, f rus. загрязнение контактов, n; засорение контактов, n pranc. encrassement de contacts, m …   Radioelektronikos terminų žodynas

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