Forum: General / Tap / Clogging

The History Of Clogging (karma: 3)
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:03 PM

It's A Bit Long, But Worth The Read!


<b>HISTORIC TIMELINE</b> : This is a general timeline of the earliest known beginnings of clogging up to the present century. After you check it out, view the results of the clogging survey I conducted, below. Find out where cloggers like you think clogging originated, why they choose to clog, and how they incorporate other dance styles into their clogging.


The early irish pagans formed a type of step dancing done in soft shoes , called a " soft jig" - a" hard or double jig" is done in hard shoes.

<b>MID 18TH-19TH CENTURY</b>

The English clog was formed as a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution in Northern England. It is believed that girls working in the cotton mills supposedly beat out a rhythm in wooden clogs, keeping in time with the shuttles flying back and forth across the loom.This form of stepdancing, called the " Lancashire Clog ", later became popular with not only women, but also with the steel mill workers, who formed serious competitions amongst each other and danced the clog in music halls and variety theatres throughout Northern England to the most popular waltzes of the day. In 1840, the "Lancashire Clog " showed up in the U.S.A., becoming the precursor of tap - spinoffs of clogging and soft shoe began to develop during this time.


Some primary roots of clogging are - the Irish jig of the British Isles and Northern Europe's " Lancashire Clog " from Belgium, Holland, and France. Settlers from these lands immigrated to America.


The Irish and Lancashire clog began to further develop in the U.S.A. with the advent of Vaudeville and other cross country shows. During this time, square and contra dancing became the the most universal dance forms in America. SLAVERY - African-americans brought their dance heritage - stylistic rhythms, upper body movement, and syncopation - not only to clogging, but also to tap.


Tap was created from the combining of elements of African drumming and dancing with the techniques of Europran clog and step dancing. APPALACHIA INFLUENCES - Appalachian clogging emerged as a blend of dances brought by the early settlers of Ireland, Scotland, and England to the Appalachian Mountains. The Irish and Scottish brought their jigs, the English their Lancashire Clog, and the Africans their buck and wing influences.Also, some clog steps of the Appalachian peoples included a stomp believed to have come from the Native-americans. Thus, the Appalachia melting pot furthered the blending of cultural dance styles to create the beginnings of clogging as we know it today.


A lawyer and cultural historian, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, founded the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, N.C., in order to preserve the South American style of music and dancing.

At one of Lunsford's festivals,Sam Queen's " Soco Gap Dance Team " wins a competition and are recognized as the first official cloggers.


Precision clogging develops - this type of clogging is danced to choreographed routines, as opposed to solo dancing, uses jingle taps, and is used in competition. During the 1950's, square dancing became the national craze throughout America - solo cloggers exhibited their talents at local square dance events, further spreading and sharing their clogging styles with others by swapping steps.In the 70's and 80's, a revival of Appalachian clogging occurred in several parts of North Carolina and Virginia via the influences of the Green Grass Cloggers. Also, general clogging terminology was developed to unite cloggers everywhere.

<b>TODAY </b>

Clogging is becoming more popular due to several influences - The internet has made clogging easier to learn about and has become a key to uniting cloggers all over the world via webpages , chat , etc. Also, shows like Mountain Legacy featuring Ira Bernstein, and the Leather N' Lace Cloggers performing in the 1996 Olympics opening ceremony really have been opening doors for clogging - are you spreading the news ?


<b>PITTER PAT</b> - This style is rather static and is a form of line dancing. It is a very popular style that is reminiscent of being a jazz/tap like form of clogging. The steps are quickly executed - modern, buck steps and tap steps that are faster and harder than mountain style clogging.

<b>WALTZ</b> - This is a relaxing style of clogging, done to three quarter time waltz or bluegrass music in wooden soled shoes. This style has similarities to English and Canadian style clogging roots.

<b>FLATFOOT</b> - This style of clogging is similar to the mountain style of clogging, only it exhibits softer versions of the shuffle and buck, with no taps on the shoes.

<b>BUCK</b> - This style uses double taps and is an older style than clogging. Today, buck dancing is associated with being a fancy type of clogging in which the dancer does basic clogging steps with extra improviso kicks and shuffles - the taps make three times as many sounds per beat of music.

<b>TAP</b> - This is the most popular form of dance in America, next to Ballet - the steps are executed faster than in clogging, and the weight emphasis is on the toes - clogging emphasizes the heel and the toe.

<b>IRISH STEP DANCING</b> - Riverdance has made this form of dance explode in popularity in America. The form of this dance performed by Riverdance is a blend of ballet, tap, irish jig, jazz, and clogging.


<b>QUESTION #1</b> : Where , when, and how do you believe clogging, in its various forms, came to be in its present state ?

<b>QUESTION #2</b> : What are your reasons for clogging, personally ? Competition,exhibition, health, etc. ?

<b>KALIA KILBAN'S ANSWERS : To #1 </b>: " The most reasonable theory that I've heard is that American clogging as a whole descended from the English and Irish stepdance forms that came over with various waves of immigrants. Once it got here, it was combined with, and influenced by, Native American dance styles and African rhythms and body styling. The divergence of American clogging into its different styles, flatfoot, chug, buck, etc., is to be expected in an area this large, with this many different ethnic groups. There has also been a huge amount of continuing stylistic leakage back and forth between clogging and its offshoot, tap, as well as between clogging and its parent styles from western Europe, which are still active and evolving. Stepdancers will use steps from anywhere. Always have, always will." Question #2 : "I like being able to make a direct percussive response to the music. The intricacy of the steps and the opportunity for playing with different sounds are a source of endless enjoyment."

<b>EELLEK2 AT AOL.COM'S ANSWERS : TO #1 :</b> " I believe clogging came from all over the world. When settlers came to America, each individual took their dance styles from their native lands and demonstrated them to everyone else. In turn, so did everyone else with their various styles. Along the years the styles began to blend, each person " borrowing " something they liked from someone else. We are still doing the same thing today, borrowing styles from Canadian, Irish & other dance forms. Ever changing, ever growing, ever becoming something different daily. "TO #2 :" I love to clog in general. Whether it is in a performance or a competition. I just love to CLOG. I teach clogging because I love it so much."

<b>QUESTION #3</b> : Some groups nowadays are incorporating tap, jazz, funk, Irish, gymnastics, and modern dance movements, steps, and formations into their clogging routines - does this relate to your group ? How strongly are you opposed / for this blending of dance styles ?

<b>LoisEll AT AOL.COM'S ANSWER TO #3</b> : "Our group will occasionally use styles or steps borrowed from other styles of dances, but we remain true to the clogging style for most of what we do. Part of the nature of a folk dance, such as clogging, is that people are always changing, adding, borrowing and adapting to & from other dance styles. I have no objection to the blending of styles, but I also appreciate those who try to remain true to the traditional styles."

<b>MISSENA DIXON'S ANSWER TO #3</b> : "The addition of the different styles definitely relates to my team, especially the jazz and modern dance movements, steps, and formations...and music. I like it more than the older styles of clogging. I don't think I would be so involved in clogging if it weren't for this modern style of clogging. I think it keeps more kids involved in it, because most kids I know don't usually listen to bluegrass, they like the fast up-to-date music. But I also think it is important to keep up the traditional style a little. My team still competes in the hoedown category and dance to the bluegrass music for some of our routines. "

<b>All information writen and compiled by Jamilyn Cobb.</b> This information is also available at the Virtual Clogger website. Jamilyn, as was my understanding, had some health problems, and had to step down her web interaction. Her site, I believe, is not being maintained as actively as it had been, and it's possible that it's not being maintained at all. However, I believe that this information was worth reading, and thought I would place it here. If anyone chooses to use this information on their own site, PLEASE give credit where it is due.

14 Replies to The History Of Clogging

re: The History Of Clogging
By dangslowmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Feb 10, 2004 01:02 AM
I never thought I'd say this, but I'm at a loss for words. That was IMPRESSIVE! What a rare and fine trait that you posess. I get the feeling that if I asked you the time, you will teach me how to build a clock! I will post this in my studio as my duty to my art...
re: The History Of Clogging
By dancerleamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jun 07, 2007 03:48 PM
Hi Theresa

I was reading another post and someone posted a link to clogging on Youtube. After seeing the link I have to say I never realised how much clogging differs from what I thought it was, it is amazing.

Anyway to cut a long story short I came on to this forum to find out a bit more about clogging and have to say well done your post has answered a lot of my questions :)

Thanks and best wishes
re: The History Of Clogging
By chrispbinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:57 PM
Edited by tassiemum (158209) on 2007-06-12 23:58:25 Ambiguous phrasing-oops.
I'm procrastinating (again) and was wandering around DDN. Beautifully written Theresa. Now, where can I learn clogging in Australia...
re: The History Of Clogging
On Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:32 AM
that was really cool. I learned alot of information. Thank you for posting this! -Caroline
re: The History Of Clogging
By dancestevemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Sep 19, 2007 04:29 PM
I also found this all very enteresting and answered a few of my questions i wondered about.
re: The History Of Clogging
By motocross8320
On Tue Nov 27, 2007 04:29 PM
I have been clogging for about 6 months now and have wandered alot of this, thankyou for posting this
re: The History Of Clogging
By motocross8320
On Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:16 PM
Wow, I went to wikipedia and looked this up, and their are several descrepencies. what does wikipedia know anyway
re: The History Of Clogging
By gobbygibbo
On Fri Mar 07, 2008 04:18 AM
WOW great information !
I used to live in holland witch is like the city of clogging and chease for a matter of fact hehe
but I think its such a good dance witch gets the whole crowd involed!
keep dancing
re: The History Of Clogging
By Urban_Holly
On Sun Jun 15, 2008 02:53 AM
You've got sonme good facts there
re: The History Of Clogging
By my0nlyhope
On Fri Jul 25, 2008 06:19 AM
Thanks for posting this. It's really cool! :)
re: The History Of Clogging
By Reel_Ballerina97
On Fri Jun 29, 2012 02:01 AM
Irish dance is not a form of any of those!!!! Tap came loooong after Irish dance It does not belong in the history of clogging. I am a Jazz and ballet dancer and Irish dance is a whoooole other ball game. It is it's own entity entirely!!!
re: The History Of Clogging
By Klemers490
On Fri Jul 06, 2012 08:02 PM
Well Tap is in a way branched off of Irish. Irish dancers hard shoes even had mental at the bottom at one point. Also Clogging is very similar to Tap, there is a small difference shoe wise and the music style. So sorry to tell you this Reel_Ballerina97 but you are wrong.
re: The History Of Clogging
By Reel_Ballerina97
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 02:39 AM
Sorry, I guess I read it wrong. I was thinking it was showing things that sprouted off from tap. I had it the other way around, oops!
re: The History Of Clogging
By leannescullion
On Thu May 01, 2014 03:58 AM
What is clogging is it like tap????? I have never heard of it before in I'm honest !!! X


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