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,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 tap, locking, jump, hakken, stomping, Gangsta Walking, and the Candy Walk dance. The use of wooden-soled clogs 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.
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 like Irish Sean-nós dance which had significant influence on the origins of the dance. While tap dancers place emphasis on stage presence and arm movements, cloggers limit their upper body movement, focusing primarily on their feet.
Clogging is the official state dance of Kentucky and North Carolina and was the social dance in the Appalachian Mountains as early as the 18th century.
In the United States, team clogging originated from square dance teams in Asheville, North Carolina's Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (1928), 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 English, and Irish fiddle tunes as well as African banjo tunes. Clogging primarily developed from Irish step dancing called Sean-nós dancethere was also some English, Scottish, German, and Cherokee step dances, as well as African rhythms and movement influences too. It was from clogging that tap dance eventually evolved. Now, many clogging teams compete against other teams for prizes such as money and trophies.
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. [ citation needed ]Another source states that the word "bockorau" can be traced to the "Angolan" word "buckra', and was used to refer to white people, which is disputed. Eventually the term came to describe Irish immigrant sailors whose jig dance was known as 'the buck.'" Another origin of the term "buck dance" comes from the idea that this style of dance was a flirtation. The male dancer would show off his skills on the dance floor to attract the female, thus being compared to the buck's courting ritual of the doe.
One source states that buck dancing was the earliest combination of the basic shuffle and tap steps performed to syncopated rhythms in which 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.
Buck dancing was popularised in America by minstrel performers in the late 19th century. Many folk festivals and fairs utilise dancing clubs or teams to perform both Buck and regular clogging for entertainment.
Traditional Appalachian clogging is characterised by loose, often bent knees and a "drag-slide" motion of the foot across the floor, and is usually performed to old-time music.
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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 www.clog.org .
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 holds its annual National Championships on the 4th weekend in October each year, unless it falls on Halloween, then it is moved to the third weekend in October.
ACHF sanctions many competitions throughout the year where teams and dancers can qualify to compete in the ACHF National Championship dance-off the last full weekend in October. Any team finishing 1st or 2nd with each dance in TWO sanctioned competitions qualifies to compete at the National Championships Dance-off.
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 three individuals who are inducted into America's Clogging Hall of Fame. These inductees have been clogging for at least 25 years, 45 years in age, 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 November 1st to September 30th. A list of those competitions and information is available on the organization's website at www.achf.us. You can also look them up on Facebook under America's Clogging Hall of Fame.
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 honour 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. organisation 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 recognised.
To recognise 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. They also recognise 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 organisation's website is www.ccaclog.com
America Onstage is a clogging and dance competition circuit based in Utah. The organisation 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 organisation's website is www.americaonstage.org.
Although Clogging is a nationwide style of dance there is a varying difference between East coast and West coast. West coast tends to follow more closely to hip hop, Cheerleading, and Jazz styles of dance. While East coast tends to follow more of a modernized version of the classic clog and hoedown style. When several teams come together from each side of the US you can clearly see the difference. Competitions in which you will see such things would be the competition done in Las Vegas every 4 years or so.
Fusion, or the adding of new styles into another, has continued to affect clogging. 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. The style has also 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.
Clogging shoes are often black, white, or black and white, and generally have double taps or "jingle taps". 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.
Ballroom dance is a set of partner dances, which are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world. Because of its performance and entertainment aspects, ballroom dance is also widely enjoyed on stage, film, and television.
Irish dance is a group of traditional dance forms originating from Ireland, encompassing dancing both solo and in groups, and dancing for social, competitive, and performance purposes. Irish dance in its current form developed from various influences such as Native Irish dance French quadrilles and English country dancing. Dance was taught by "travelling dance masters" across Ireland in the 17th-18th century, and separate dance forms developed according to regional practice and differing purposes. Irish dance became a significant part of Irish culture, particularly for Irish nationalist movements. From the early 20th century, a number of organisations promoted and codified the various forms of dance, creating competitive structures and standardised styles.
Tap dance is a type of dance characterised by using the sounds of tap shoes striking the floor as a form of percussion. The sound is made by shoes that have a metal "tap" on the heel and toe. There are several major variations on tap dance including: rhythm tap (jazz) tap, classical tap, Broadway tap, and post-modern tap. Broadway tap often focuses on formations, choreography and generally less complex rhythms; it is widely performed in musical theatre. Rhythm tap focuses on musicality, and practitioners consider themselves to be a part of the jazz tradition and as such, Improvisation is essential to their work. Many of the most influential rhythm tap dancers were members of the Hoofers Club or Original Copacetics. Classical tap has a similarly long tradition which marries European "classical" music with American foot drumming with a wide variation in full-body expression. Post-modern or contemporary tap has emerged over the last three decades to incorporate abstract expression, thematic narrative and technology.
Bluegrass music is a genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s in the United States Appalachian region. The genre derives its name from the band Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Bluegrass has roots in traditional English, Scottish and Irish ballads and dance tunes, and by traditional African-American blues and jazz. Bluegrass was further developed by musicians who played with Monroe, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. Monroe characterized the genre as: "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'". It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound."
Clogs are a type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Clogs are used worldwide and although the form may vary by culture, within a culture the form often remained unchanged for centuries.
Step dance is the generic term for dance styles in which the footwork is the most important part of the dance. Limb movements and styling are either restricted or considered irrelevant.
Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dancing, clogging, and buck dancing. It is played on acoustic instruments, generally centering on a combination of fiddle and plucked string instruments, most often the guitar, banjo, and mandolin.
There is great variety in dance in the United States of America. It is the home of the hip hop dance, tap dance and its derivative Rock and Roll, and modern square dance and one of the major centers for modern dance. There is a variety of social dance and concert or performance dance forms with also a range of traditions of Native American dances.
John William Sublett, known by his stage name John W. Bubbles, was an American vaudeville performer. He performed in the duo "Buck and Bubbles." He is also known as the father of "rhythm tap."
Appalachian music is the music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. It is derived from various European and African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish traditional music, hymns, and African-American blues. First recorded in the 1920s, Appalachian musicians were a key influence on the early development of Old-time music, country music, and bluegrass, and were an important part of the American folk music revival of the 1960s. Instruments typically used to perform Appalachian music include the banjo, American fiddle, fretted dulcimer, and guitar.
Clog dancing is a form of step dance characterised by the wearing of inflexible, wooden soled clogs. Clog dancing developed into differing intricate forms both in Wales and also in the North of England. Welsh clog dancing mainly originates from various slate mines where workers would compete against each other during work breaks. Northern English traditional clog dancing originates from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northumbria and Cumbria.
The Juba dance or hambone, originally known as Pattin' Juba, is an African American style of dance that involves stomping as well as slapping and patting the arms, legs, chest, and cheeks (clapping). "Pattin' Juba" would be used to keep time for other dances during a walkaround. A Juba Dance performance could include:
African-American dance has developed within Black American communities in everyday spaces, rather than in studios, schools or companies. These dances are usually centered on folk and social dance practice, though performance dance often supplies complementary aspects to this. Placing great value on improvisation, these dances are characterized by ongoing change and development. There are a number of notable African-American modern dance companies using African-American cultural dance as an inspiration, among these are the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Unlike European-American dance, African-American dance was not taxed in the fields of Europe where it began and has not been presented in theatrical productions by generations of kings, tzars, and states. Instead, it lost its best dancers to the draft and started requiring taxes from establishments in the form of a federal excise tax on dance halls enacted in 1944. Dance halls continue to be taxed throughout the country while dance studios are not, and African-American dance companies statistically receive less taxpayer money than European Americans. However, Hollywood and Broadway have provided opportunities for African-American artists to share their work and for the public to support them. Michael Jackson and Beyoncé are among the most well-known African-American dancers.
Irish stepdance is a style of performance dance with its roots in traditional Irish dance. It is generally characterized by a stiff upper body and quick and precise movements of the feet. It can be performed solo or in groups. Aside from public dance performances, there are also stepdance competitions all over the world. These competitions are often called Feiseanna. In Irish dance culture, a Feis is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival. Costumes are considered important for stage presence in competition and performance Irish stepdance. In many cases, costumes are sold at high prices and can even be custom made. Males and females can both perform Irish stepdance but for the most part in today's society, the dance remains predominantly female. This means that the costumes are mainly dresses. Each dress is different, with varying colors and patterns, designed to attract the judge's eye in competitions and the audience's eye in performance. General appearance besides the costume is also equally important. Dancers would typically curl their hair before each competition. Many dancers invest in curled wigs that match their hair color. Poodle Socks are worn with the dresses and shoes. These are white socks that stretch to mid calf with distinctive ribbing.
American traditional informal freeform solo folk dancing is a form of dance oriented to spontaneous individual dancing, where self-expression and creativity are expected.
Sean-nós dance in America has its roots in Irish culture, but may be practiced differently from how it is danced in Ireland. When Irish people emigrated to America in great numbers during the early American Colonial period, or when escaping The Troubles in Ireland, they brought their dance culture with them. One of the many forms of Irish dance is sean-nós dance, which is an informal, spontaneous, solo form of dance. Sean-nós dance has both modified, and in turn been modified by, similar forms of traditional vernacular solo dance in America.
Ira Bernstein is a dancer and teacher in the United States who specializes in traditional American dance forms such as Appalachian-style clogging, flatfoot dancing, tap dance, and step dancing. He is considered an authority on clogging, and the leading figure in this dance style. He calls himself a "percussive step dancer who specializes in Appalachian flatfooting," and also dances Green Grass style Appalachian clogging, English clogging, French-Canadian step dancing, Irish step dancing, and South African gumboot dancing.
Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin, tap dancer, instructor and choreographer started his artistic career in the subways of Chicago, where he had developed his unique style of tap dance hoofing, characterized by raw form of African American Tap. The combination of African foot stomping, Irish step and his lengthy experience contributes to the world of tap dancing.
Donald Ray White, more commonly known as D. Ray White, was an American mountain dancer and entertainer, and the patriarch of the White family. He has been featured in several American documentary films that detail the White family. His style was a subtle mix of tap and clog dancing that is native to the Appalachian Mountains and Appalachia. D. Ray rose to regional stardom before his murder in 1985 and became known as one of the greatest mountain dancers of his time. His son, Jesco White, known as "The Dancing Outlaw," who has also been the subject of several documentaries, has carried on his style and continues to perform.
Canadian stepdance, also known as Maritimes stepdance, is a unique style of stepdance in Canada, stemming from European origins including France, Scotland and Ireland. Canadian stepdancing involves fast dancing to fiddle music using shoes with taps designed to accentuate the dancer's rhythmical, drumming foot movements. Dancers generally require little dance space to perform their routines. Some styles of Canadian stepdancing include upper-body postures that are relatively relaxed compared with older stepdance styles, allowing occasional arm movements that flow with the rhythm of the dance, or hands on hips.
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