What is Clogging?

Clogging is an American folk dance that's kind of like tap, highland and line dancing all rolled into one.  Traditionally called Appalachian Mountain Step Dancing, flatfooting or buckdancing - modern clogging is also called Power Tap or Blending (a blend of clogging and hip hop).  


The difference between tap and clogging is how we count the beat - cloggers are ahead of the beat counting e&a1 and tap dancers count 1e&a - a similarity is that a shuffle step in tap is a double toe step in clogging.


Check out these two clips of Modern Clogging.  All That on America's Got Talent.   Brandon Norris performs on the So You Think You Can Dance finale. More video links here.  


The form of Clogging I do does not involve wearing wooden "clogs" from Holland.  We wear tap dance like shoes with double taps on them.  I didn't start with these though, I started with a pair of sneakers with clogging taps glued on.  


Clogging, or clog dancing, is a lively folk dance with roots in Irish jig, English country dances, Scottish dances, African steps and rhythms and possibly even a bit of Cherokee Indian. It is a percussive dance, meaning the dancers beat out rhythms with their feet. Settlers brought their own dances and music to the Appalachian Mountain area. These steps and styles mixed together into what we now call clogging.


Modern Clogging is similar in style to Tap, Line Dancing, Irish and Canadian Step Dancing all rolled into one. We dance to current music styles such as Pop, Country, Rock, Gospel, Irish and Bluegrass (basically any music with a solid downbeat).  Canadian Clogging is more of a social dance.  There is no focus on competitions and costumes.  Just an enjoyable class or two a week of dancing with others who also enjoy it.  Our dances are cued (each step is called out prior to doing it) which means memorizing dances is not required, unless you are part of a performance group.


Characteristic of clogging is the rhythmic beat that the dancers’ feet are continually making. Traditional clogging involves fewer than ten basic movements, but these combine to make quite a variety of steps.


Clogging is related to tap dancing, but has a different style. Cloggers have a distinctive up and down body motion and emphasize the downbeat of the music. Tap dancers tend to be lighter and tap out the melody, rather than the beat. Most cloggers today do wear taps to emphasize the sounds of the feet (but if you are just starting, any flat soled shoe will do.)


Bluegrass music is the traditional music of clogging but today cloggers dance to many styles of music. Line dances are the most popular style of dance in our area, but clogging can be done solo, in couples, small groups, or large groups. Cued dances are a popular form of recreational clogging where the step sequence is cued for the dancers. The dancers are familiar with the steps, but they don’t have to memorize the entire dance sequence. This way dancers can enjoy many more dances than if each one were memorized.


Here's a clip of just for kics on Global Morning News with Lorraine Mansbridge April 29, 2010


Here's the playlist of local Edmonton groups clogging on Breakfast Television May 7, 2009.