Friday, November 8, 2013


For many years, I thought clogging was the same thing as tap dancing. However, as I grew older I started to learn there is a distinct difference between the two dances. My Mom helped me in understanding this difference because in her youth, she had participated in clogging while growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.

Clogging is a type of folk dancing that involves percussive strikings of the heel, toe, or both. It has its origins in Wales and England and was brought to the U.S. with European immigration. Clogging is the state dance of both Kentucky and North Carolina. Clogging is often associated with "old-time" music that  takes from Irish and Scottish fiddling; while, the dance movements are tied to German, English, Irish, Cherokee and African dances, rhythms and movements. Tap dancing actually developed out of clogging, but with different musical accompaniments and movements.

Even though clogging started as a social dance for the people living in the Appalachian regions of the U.S., it has not remained that way. In recent years, clogging competitions have sprung up across the nation; they have become a recent phenomenon. The competitions are extremely competitive, and there have even been reality TV series depicting the lives of those on clogging teams. It's is immensely fascinating to me how a social, joyous dance that was highly participatory in its origins has moved to become a presentational, competitive dance.

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