What is Clog Dancing?
Written by Jake Fuller
In the U.S., clog dancing or clogging, as it is sometimes known, takes its origins from square dancing. This is not where or how clogging began however. It is not quite clear but clogging may have been developed as long ago as the 1400s, which would make it one of the oldest types of dancing still in existence since its creation. Clog dancing is the official name but many people refer to it as clogging.
Before coming to be known as clogging or clog dancing, there was bluegrass dancing. This type of dance was done to music that often included the fiddle and was affectionately referred to as old time music for its many different steps and taps. African, German, Irish and English dances can all be somewhat identified in clogging, which is something of a mixture of moves from all of these backgrounds.
So what then, is clogging and how is it different from other types of dances? Clogging is a dance style that is accentuated by the type of shoes that are worn during the dance. The shoes are used to make a loud percussion noise with the toe or heel or in some cases both the toe and heel to make a rhythm. This rhythm or beat is often compared to the sounds that percussion instruments make and is the basis of clogging.
Other names for clogging that are used include flat-footing, buck dancing, jigging, foot-stomping and clog dancing. Each of these names shares that same definitive indications that clogging does, which is that the foot taps and heel clicks make this style of dance what it is. In Wales, clogging has taken to competition level and you can witness the dancers jumping high in the air over brooms.
Interested in a little bit of English history about clogging? Believe it or not, hard-soled shoes were required for individuals who worked at the weaving machines. They would tap their feet to keep them warm during working sessions. On the lunch period and after work, they would have unofficial competitions to see who had the best sounding percussion beats and rhythms. Now you know!
Here’s another interesting fact you may not know about clogging: It is the official state dance of both North Carolina and Kentucky. Ready to get clogging? There’s no time like the present to learn more about the fascinating dance that’s been around for a very long time. Take clog dancing shoes, for example. Clog dancing shoes often have taps on the toe and the heel so that they make a rhythm sound when you walk. Clogging with these types of shoes makes it possible to hear the sound even if you are on carpet.
In the United States, dance crews are even taking clog dancing to a new level by competition on national television with this type of dance. So what is clogging? It’s a dance style that’s all over the world and enjoyed by people everywhere. With the right shoes and a little initiative, you too can be clogging your way to some good old fashioned enjoyable clog dancing before you know it!
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