Modern Clogging is Here

Power, passion, energy, strength, endurance, dedication, showmanship – all of these attributes could belong to a soldier or a marine….. or a dancer. Clogging is the dance form that has been a part of my life for the last 20 years of my 25 years in this world. It is something that defines me as a person and as a professional. I have experienced the up’s and down’s of a dancer’s life from being named to the prestigious All American Team to tearing my tibialis posterior muscle clean away from my shin bone, and I owe it all to my Irish and Scottish ancestors.

Clogging, known as the melting pot of dances, begin during the 1700’s in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. Scottish, Irish, English, and Dutch-German settlers found common ground through dance. Over time, their styles wove together and Clogging was born.

As Clogging spread throughout the United States, other influences, such as Native American and African, found their way into this new dance form.

Traditional Clogging, also known as drag-style Clogging is a percussive dance where a dancer produces rhythmic sounds from steel double taps positioned on the heel and toe of the shoe. The sounds then combines with the rhythm of the music, which was usually fiddle or bluegrass music.

However, today, clogging has evolved into modern Clogging and features influences of Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, and Pointe throughout precision routines. Modern Cloggers do not don the stereotypical crinoline and petticoat that their predecessors once did. Sequins, fringe, and netting are all fair game now. Competitive teams battle it out on the dance floor through the American Clogging Hall of Fame, Clogging Champions of America, and the National Hoedown and Clogging Council competitive circuits in the U.S. and around the world.

No, Clogging is not just an American dance. It can be found all over the globe including Australia, Canada, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, and more. In fact, the Soco Gap Cloggers, one of the first competitive clogging teams, performed for the Queen of England in the early 1900’s.

Clogging is not just an American dance. It can be found all over the globe

Recently, Clogging has risen more in popularity as teams such as All That, Dynamic Edition, and the Southern Belles have appeared on TV shows such as America’s Got Talent and America’s Best Dance Crew. Brandon Norris, director of Dynamic Editon, even appeared solo on So You Think You Can Dance.

The traditional drag slide style of clogging is very much respected and remembered in today’s clogging world. While modern Clogging fights for it’s place in the dance world, competitive teams such as American Clogging Hall of Fame national champions, Rhythm-N-Motion of Cookeville, TN, keep traditional drag slide clogging, as well as square dance figures, or mountain figures, alive and well while they perform at fairs and theatres, including the great stage of the Grand Olé Opry in Nashville, TN.

For more about clogging and Dorothy — Life’s A Dance

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Posted on Sun 28th February 2010 and filed under Dance Style, History.

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