Clogging

6pm on Mondays at the Herman Prior Activity Centre

(On hold due to COVID-19 virus).

Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer’s footwear is used percussively by striking the heel, the toe, or both against a floor or each other to create audible rhythms, usually to the downbeat with the heel keeping the rhythm. The dance style has recently fused with others including African-American rhythms,[1] and the Peruvian dance “zapateo” (which may in itself be derived from early European clog dances), resulting in the birth of newer street dances, such as taplockingjumphakkenstompingGangsta Walking, and the Candy Walk dance. The use of wooden-soled clogs[2] is rarer in the more modern dances since clog shoes are not commonly worn in urban society, and other types of footwear have replaced them in their evolved dance forms. Clogging is often considered the first form of street dance because it evolved in urban environments during the industrial revolution.

As the clogging style has evolved over the years, many localities have made contributions by adding local steps and rhythms to the style. The dance has its origins in Wales and England where the traditional cloghad a one-piece wooden bottom and a leather upper. 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 “flatfooting” derive.

In later periods it was not always called “clogging”, being known variously as 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.

Clogging can be divided into five major categories: 1) shuffle clogging, 2) cadence clogging, 3) rhythm clogging, 4) stomp clogging, and 5) buck-dancing.

The shuffle clogging style is said to be the most popular style for bluegrass music cloggers while rhythm and stomp clogging are more popular with old-time music cloggers. What sets clogging apart from other dance styles such as tap-dancing is the lack of upper body movement used during performance. While tap dancers place emphasis on stage presence and arm movements, cloggers limit their upper body movement, focusing primarily on their feet.