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Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging

izzy 10 Aug 03 - 01:47 PM
GUEST 10 Aug 03 - 02:20 PM
treewind 10 Aug 03 - 02:22 PM
JohnInKansas 10 Aug 03 - 08:28 PM
GUEST 11 Aug 03 - 12:48 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Aug 03 - 01:13 AM
nickp 11 Aug 03 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,Claymore 11 Aug 03 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Sharon G 11 Aug 03 - 10:09 AM
mouldy 12 Aug 03 - 04:12 AM
greg stephens 12 Aug 03 - 06:54 AM
stevethesqueeze 12 Aug 03 - 07:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Aug 03 - 07:34 PM
greg stephens 12 Aug 03 - 07:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Aug 03 - 08:06 PM
izzy 12 Aug 03 - 08:33 PM
Desert Dancer 12 Aug 03 - 10:09 PM
nickp 13 Aug 03 - 10:57 AM
AggieD 13 Aug 03 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 13 Aug 03 - 07:11 PM
izzy 13 Aug 03 - 08:41 PM
nickp 14 Aug 03 - 04:04 AM
nickp 14 Aug 03 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Richard K 14 Aug 03 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 15 Aug 03 - 03:15 AM
nickp 15 Aug 03 - 03:54 AM
Desert Dancer 27 Aug 03 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Chris Brady 14 Jan 11 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,Chris Brady 14 Jan 11 - 10:01 PM
GUEST 14 Jan 11 - 10:14 PM
Mo the caller 15 Jan 11 - 06:29 AM
Manitas_at_home 16 Jan 11 - 02:55 AM
GUEST,Chris Brady 16 Jan 11 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,cathy in dc 22 Sep 13 - 04:43 PM
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Subject: Folklore: English Clog Dancing --how to learn?
From: izzy
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 01:47 PM

Hallo all,

I've had a look for this subject in the forum, but there doesn't seem to be anything on it. I'm interested in teaching myself English clogging. The only problem is, I'm in North America and the instructional films from EFDSS won't play over here, and getting instruction books through costs a lot of money. Does anyone know of a good reliable website that teaches the basic steps? Also, can I get away with using ordinary tap shoes? (Dancing clogs aren't really big sellers where I am!)

Also, another question for the folk dance boffins --is Appalachian clogging pretty much the same as English clogging, or are there major differences? I DO have some instructional material on the Appalachian style, which is very interesting, but I obviously don't want to start learning the wrong style for English clogging.

About music to clog to --does it have to be clogging music per se, or will any good rhythmic fiddling do? (There's no shortage of the latter here in the form of Sword and Rapper dances on CDs.)

Hope this isn't too obscure a query,

Cheers,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 02:20 PM

Hi, Isabel,

There is English clogging in the U.S.. Check Tony Barrand's web site here for information about the work he's done on English clogging as it came to the U.S. He and Kari Smith have some material published. There are contact links at the bottom of the page. Kari Smith also teaches English clog (you've just missed it at CDSS's English Dance Week at Pinewoods). Tony or CDSS could tell you how to contact her.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: treewind
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 02:22 PM

I don't know what to suggest about dance instructions on the web. Appalachian clogging is different, but if you've never done anything like it before I'd guess it's worth learning just to get some foot control, then learning another style later won't be quite so difficult.

Music - There are different steps for hornpipes, jigs and reels and there are some waltz time steps too. What you need is music at the right speed, or speeds in the plural when you are learning.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 08:28 PM

Quite a few friends have allowed it to be known that they were taking clogging lessons, (within the past 5-10 years) and I know at least one local musician who plays for a clogging group nearby now. Even in hicksville central Kansas, it happens.

As I don't recall ever seeing such groups "advertised," I'd guess that they're pretty much known only to the participants and by word of mouth to a few friends. It's quite likely the same situation exists in your area; but I have no useful suggestions about how you would find any such groups (except perhaps a note on the bulletin board at the nearest university rec center(?)).

I have no idea what "style" the current group that I've heard of is doing, but perhaps I can convince my friend to drop in and offer some comments - if he still reads his email.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 12:48 AM

Overwhelmingly, if people speak of "clogging" in the U.S. they're talking about Appalachian style clogging, or more precisely, the 20th century precision choreographed version of what was once quite a varied and individual thing (which the traditional dancers never called "clogging," as it happens). Nowadays this clogging is sometimes associated with modern western "club" square dancing, so it doesn't surprise me at all that it appears in central Kansas. There are of course Appalachian-style cloggers who take more of a folk/traditional approach to it.

English clog dancing is done with a wooden-soled shoe, American is done with a hard leather-soled shoe (folk) or tap shoes (precision). This in itself I'm sure makes for some major differences in how the steps work. But, beyond that I'm woefully ignorant. Good luck in your pursuit of info!

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 01:13 AM

I have seen another variant(?), performed by a wandering "artist" in a festival campground. His shoes had the fuzzy side of velcro pads on the soles, and he danced on a "sticky pad," (or maybe the other way 'round) so that instead of "click-click" you got "rip-rip."

Well, at least he called it "velcro clogging."

It was rather amusing (briefly) as a novelty act - perhaps a little less bizarre than the guy who played the cicada for us.

I can confirm that at least one of my Kansas "clogger" friends some 10 years ago did have a pair of "clogging shoes" with metal taps, but I don't know whether that was the prevailing practice in his group, or if he was just showing off the old tap shoes he happened to have.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: nickp
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 06:24 AM

Becky is right when she says "they're talking about Appalachian style clogging, or more precisely, the 20th century precision" -it's a whole discussion in itself (I'm involved in the Appalachian style clogging here in the UK - although it in itself is a subset based on that assembled by the Green Grass Cloggers of NC).

Back to the subject... UK format videos won't play on US players (although vice versa will) BUT check your yellow pages for companies that will convert (PAL to NTSC - both are VHS). If you can find one it may be worth the expense of a copy. Some camera/film processing shops will have a 'send away' arrangement to get conversion done.

You can buy multiformat vcrs - Samsung do one - and I think that Sears may possibly stock them but unless you want to play lots of UK format ones a conversion would be best. At a guess about $10 - $15 per hour converted.

You CAN dance wooden shoe clog in hard shoes (no taps please - if you do only use singles like tap dancers rather than the double ones most competition cloggers use) but it isn't easy as most of the steps are up on your toes and the rigidity of the wooden soles is needed. Don't let that stop you though. Our UK/Green Grass style appalachian team performs a north eastern UK (wooden shoe) clog dance in leather soled shoes - and sometimes even with taps.

Oh, and it is just the sole that is wooden, not like the all wooden Dutch or French shoes also colloquially called clogs.

Good luck.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 09:56 AM

In the Panhandle region of West Viginia, the individual style is called "flat footing" and is done in heavy shoes, but no taps or clogs. It derives directly from the Irish "sean nos" or "Old Time", style of what was also called "kitchen dancing".

When a bunch of us (some 15 musicians and four cloggers), went to Ireland a couple of years ago, the cloggers were a big hit, and when we played on one of the Irish TV shows, an old man came out of the audience, and began dancing many of the same steps as our folks, and after the end of the show, we got to talk to him in English (the show was done in Gaelic). He apparently was one of the major proponets of bringing back "sean nos" dancing, and since then our cloggers have been conducting yearly classes in Ireland to teach the Irish many of the steps they forgot, as well as various combinations of steps.

The cloggers around here speak dismissively of what you call "precision" clogging as "white shoes" dancing, and claim it is more akin to square dancing than clogging.

I don't dance; I just play, so I would be interested in sorting it all out too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Sharon G
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 10:09 AM

My very good friend does Appalachian style clogging (not the precision style, but more of the free-form "flat-footing" style) Through our interest in Irish music and our childrens' participation in Irish step dancing, we've come into contact with several people who have commented on her clogging: "that's just like what my grandmother/grandfather used to do". Including the looser stance and movement in the arms- unlike the stiff upper body and motionless arms expected in competitive step dancing.

In particular, one of the judges at a feis (Irish dance competition) took a great deal of interet in seeing a demonstration of her clogging. He was   probably 60-70 years old, and noted the similarity with a grandparent- not just in the steps, but in the way that the steps were not restricted to choreographed 8 bar sections as they are in contemporary step dancing.

I'm sure she could add more, but I'm not sure if she's going to be available to a computer to jump in on this topic...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: mouldy
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 04:12 AM

Most of the English clog dancing hails from the northern half of the country, especially Lancashire, Durham, Cumberland/Westmoreland. Not to be confused with NW Morris, which is traditional morris dancing very often danced in clogs. (It is also presumed to be one of the main forerunners of modern jazz-tap, having been exported to the States by settlers in the 19th century). There are regional variations in style. It was also quite popular, I believe, in the music halls (eg - Sherry Brothers, and even Morecambe and Wise!) Step clogs have plain wooden bottoms, whereas the morris clogs are often slightly heavier and have irons or rubbers on the bottom. Dances performed are typically waltzes, hornpipes etc.

I'm not a clog dancer myself (I am a morris dancer) but I have friends who are. Unfortunately my feet and ankles can't get to grips with stepping, although I have tried!

Andrea


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 06:54 AM

Claymore: interested to read about thee West Virginia dancing, and its derivation from Irish dancing. I would have thought historically you might expect English styles to predominate in that area, but I dont really know, and I havent studied the dancing. what features make you suppose the steps are Irish rather than English in origin?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: stevethesqueeze
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 07:18 AM

The thing about traditional dancing of any kind in the british isles and Ireland is they are all very similar. dancing is no respecter of borders and dance steps move around just like the tunes do. The big difference is all to do with whats happend to the tradtion in that area. In England its really nearly all been rediscovered and that seems to show in the way they are danced. perhaps a little more self concious and not so "articulate" as say the dancers in Ireland where there has been virtually and unbroken tradition. Its the same here in wales. following the religous revivals of the nineteenth century traditional music and dance virtually died out and the dances have been rediscovered. Its down to good hard work by a committed band here that it is growing again. Mind you its only last year I was told by a local chapel here in Wales that teaching children simple country dancing was sinful and that i should stop it.!!

Anyway i do think is hard to suppose just where dance stepes start.

stevethesqueeze


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 07:34 PM

Most of the English clog dancing hails from the northern half of the country

Maybe true if its clog dancing with wooden soles, but step dancing on square in hard soled shoes or boots is a just-about-living tradition in East Anglia and in the West Country.

There's an enormous variety of styles around the British Isles - I remember an impressive demonstration where a dancer, whose name escapes me, danced her way, so to speak, around England and Wales.

"...its only last year I was told by a local chapel here in Wales that teaching children simple country dancing was sinful and that I should stop it.!!"

Now, paradoxically enough, I suspect that's the kind of thing that might actually help. It can be the kiss of death when the worthy pillars of society set out to encourage folk activities. That's why I think it's better to resist well-meaning suggestions for finding it a place in the mainstream curriculum.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 07:35 PM

stevethesqueeze: I've seen a good few "traditional" English stepdancers of various kinds whose steps go back to who they got them from without any revivaist" stuff. And a lot of them will have been filmed,I imagine, so it's not hard to find out how it was done.
    I used to work as Sam Sherry's accompanist a long time ago, I'm no dancer myself but I've seen it done a lot!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 08:06 PM

Clogging and step dancing in England is, as Greg says, an unbroken tradition; though it's fair to say that it was in a fairly parlous state for a while, there was still time for a new generation to learn (in detail, and in person) from masters like Sam Sherry and Dick Hewitt. It's true, as well, that traditional (as opposed to Riverdance-type) Irish styles (also undergoing a revival after a pretty thin time for a while) have a good bit in common with English styles; and this may be why people assume that Appalachian clogging is derived directly from Ireland. It's a fashionable assumption at the moment, but it seems more likely that American styles are derived from a mix of both traditions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: izzy
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 08:33 PM

Thanks, Malcolm, I suspected as much about Appalachian clog dancing. Would it be advisable, therefore, for me to learn Appalachian clogging now (given it's the only thing I have access to) and pick up the English style when I'm somewhere where it's taught? Would I end up being confused and having my style ruined if I switched from Appalachian to English, or are the similarities such that the gulf wouldn't be too hard to bridge? (I'm confused enough already --the instructional video I've got shows an American clog dancing instructor with the words "English Clog Dance Instructor" beside her on the screen, but she continually makes reference to Appalachian clogging and the word "English" never comes out of her mouth.)

I really appreciate all the advice people are giving me on this topic. My interest was actually sparked by hearing the flying feet of Lucy Adams on the last track on Eliza Carthy's Rice album. She sounds like she's wearing wooden-soled shoes. That would explain why it sounds so different from tap. Pleasanter and less aggressive sound, IMHO, and it complements rather than over-rides the music.

Cheers! Hope somebody can advise me on what to do.

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 Aug 03 - 10:09 PM

Isabel, contact Kari Smith, who's certainly been around both styles.

For what it's worth, here's some second-hand info: I have a friend who's seriously dance-eclectic. He's working on tap now, after years of various folk styles, including clogging and French Canadian step dancing, but especially international folk dancing (e.g., especially Balkan). He says tap has been a struggle for him to adjust to, because the center of gravity of your body is in a very different place. What I've seen of English clogging, it is very similar to tap. So... draw your own conclusions, but I'd talk to Kari, first. I've got an e-mail address for her, if you want to PM me.

~ Becky in Tucson (with my cookie back)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 10:57 AM

Isabel, where in the U.S. are you? I might be able to come up with some ideas - admittedly mainly for traditional (Appalachian-ish) folk clogging and there's just a chance that I can find an English clog teacher. Most U.S. clogging teachers/videos are for competition clogging which is as far from what you want as ..... (fill in your preferred negative)

For Appalachian - which is not quite what you want but might be a start - there is a video (and a book) by Ira Bernstein at www.tentoepercussion.com or there is a recently issued video - "Buckdancing for Beginners" The Basics of Southern Appalachian Flatfoot Clogging (2002) taught by Evie Ladin
see http://www.stairwellsisters.com/sisterscd.html

There is also one advertised by Sandy Silva which might do.

Hope this gives you a start - I'll pm you anyway.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: AggieD
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 02:08 PM

Having danced English Clog & taken workshops in Appalachian style, I would say that there is of course a difference between them, but probably not such a vast gulf that you could learn Appalachian, & then not be able to do English step at a later date when you find a teacher.

Even in English step there are so many different styles that you have to learn each style individually anyway, for example Lancashire dances are very different to Westmoreland dances etc.

You might want to go here chrisbrady
to see whether there is something that can help you.

Good luck


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 07:11 PM

Isobel - yes Lucy Adams does dance in clogs. Sometimes it seems like her Dad is the only person from Ripponden who doesn't step dance.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: izzy
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 08:41 PM

Hmm...forgive me for being dense, Peter, but who would her Dad be exactly? ;)

Cheers,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: nickp
Date: 14 Aug 03 - 04:04 AM

Ah yes, Chris Brady, well done AggieD, I could remember the "Chris" but not the surname. There are a few books (one about Lakeland stepping by the Fletts - see link - springs to mind and I believe is still in print) but really you need to see it happen to get the most out of them.

stepping page - note the email listed may not be active

Nick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: nickp
Date: 14 Aug 03 - 06:22 AM

And try the country Dance & Song Society based in Mass. who have a book from Tony Barrand and imply there might be videos to hire (for members?)

Country Dance & Song Society

Failing that, because of where you are, you might find it as easy to learn Acadian/Prince Edward Island/Cape Breton step dance which would be as useful as learning App. in the interim.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Richard K
Date: 14 Aug 03 - 08:31 AM

Reading Cloggies (more correctly called Reading Traditional & Step Dance Group) run a one day workshop festival each October. And they always video the workshop showcase. Details of availability from Chris Brady's page listed above (NTSC available). These won't quite manage to be instructional as they just show the performers' shows and the workshop showcases, but should give you a good idea of what it looks like, especially since they focus on the teachers' feet. If you pick the right one (eg some of John Walford's workshops eg 1994) you can find steps straight out of the Fletts' Lakeland book.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 03:15 AM

Isobel, Lucy Adams is the daughter of Johnny Adams - ex New Victory Band.
Of the five Ripponden based performers who regularly appear as "Ryburn Three Step" Johnny is the only one who does't dance.

Before somebody shoots me down over the constitution of Ryburn Three Step, I did say REGULARLY. (Jonny, Chris, Pete, Sue and the young girl whose name I always forget) I am aware that there are others.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: nickp
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 03:54 AM

Peter you must mean Alice Jones.

Isabel, it might be worth emailing Sue Coe at Ryburn as she may have some thoughts about where to get material. I'll pm you her email.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 02:33 PM

Just noticed today that among the morris tapes, the Country Dance and Song Society has videos for rent of clog dance performances that were recorded by Tony Barrand in England a while back.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Chris Brady
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 09:28 PM

Tony's videos and the Reading Cloggies' Festival videos are all on Tony's wonderful database at: http://www.bu.edu/dbin/dance/

This is just as well, because the professional film company that filmed them has junked many of the masters.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Chris Brady
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 10:01 PM

Also for the thread - Rhett Krause and Tony Barrand researched clog dancing on the American Music Hall in the late 1800s / early 1900s. And Tony has thoroughly documented the dances of the Marley family.

Also apparently clog dancing was as popular in the US as it was in the UK. And professional stage clog dancers toured the Western world 'following the sun' so to speak to perform during in the summer season shows from the UK to the US to Australia and New Zealand.

And by clog dancing I mean with wooden-soled shoes aka English clogs.

There are now numerous web sites of old newspapers scanned and searchable for Australia (free) and New Zealand (free). And a search for 'clogs' or 'clog dance' etc. usually results in fascinating articles of clog champions, competitions, clog dance challenges, and instructional classes.

I would assume the same is true in the USA - actually it is true because Rhett's research (written up in the CDSS Journel) has shown this.

The sad thing in the UK is that many dancers have become enamoured with what is termed 'Appalachian precision clogging' or rather a kind of commercialised and highly choreographed folkish tap-dancing. They're good performers but they have neglected our own highly variable step dance traditions which have all but become extinct.

Also too dancers in the US have completely ignored their own endemic clog dancing (wooden-soled shoes) traditions. Tony Barrand has republished many of the old instructional books fromthe 1800s that are languishing forgotten in the archives of various American libraries (Sands, James, Tucker, and others) - but no-one is interpreting and perfoming the dances described therein.

And what about the books by Helen Frost? There are some gem routines in those.

Incidentally an undocumented clog dancing 'tradition' comes from the YMCA's in New York and Chicago (I think) where they held acrobatic clog dancing classes in the early 1900s.

And finally there is the myth that the origins of American 'clogging' aka 'flat footing,' e.g chugging etc., comes variably from the native Americans (which I personally doubt, I mean how can you make tapping sounds in mocasins or bare feet on soft earth?), or the African slaves on the plantations.

But no-one has researched the link of the cotton trade between the Southern plantations and the Lancashire cotton mills. The plantations were frequently owned by Lancashire cotton mill owners. We know that the quadrilles were exported from the UK to the Southern plantations and that some slaves were frequently invited (maybe ordered?) to learn the dances or to play the music for them. So how about Lancashire clog dancing? Did that also travel to the South and was taught to the slaves?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 10:14 PM

P.S. This all reminds me that I met a wonderful lady in Chicago in the 1980s - one Betty Bryant. she was a clog dancer, and singer and actress on the Mississippi show boat owned by her father. [Google 'Bryant show boat']. She wrote an amazing book about her "Here Comes the Showboat!" I met her in a local restaurant in Park Ridge, and between courses we were step dancing and trading steps on the lino'd floor, much to the amusement (or annoyance?) of the waitress. Betty showed me her split-soled clogs - that is each shoe had a wooden sole, but there was a split between the front half and the rear half to give flexibility. When she was in her teens Betty auditioned to be the 'Betty' in the Wilson, Kepple and Betty comedy dance act - but her parents wouldn't let her travel to England!! Sadly she passed away some years ago before anyone could record her steps and routines. However all her personal possessions and costumes from the show boat days went to a Riverboat Museum, but I cannot find out which one, and it may be that it was destroyed in the subsequent floods.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: Mo the caller
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 06:29 AM

Since Chris has reopened this thread 8 years on I'll add my 2pennorth.
Dancing in wooden-sole clogs feels very different from trying to learn the same steps in shoes. The clogs have curved soles and you dance with your heels off the ground.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 02:55 AM

Isn't that a regional thing? When I first tried clog dancing I had a pair of walking clogs (from Walkleys) and they weren't curved. Mos people would surely have danced in their everyday clogs when the style were being developed.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,Chris Brady
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 02:35 PM

Walkleys clogs are usually made for heavy manual working or - well - walking in. They have machine made soles, not generally that curved. You need special curved soles for clog dancing - a good clog maker would hand-make those. Horses for courses I guess.

The usual type of clogs seen in old photgraphs, perhaps in the Hulton Collection, have really strong thick soles. I am thinking of those worn by coal miners, dock workers, cotton-mill workers, etc. These would also have irons on the soles (like horse shoes). The loud 'clattering' of clogs on the cobbled streets of the Lancashire mill towns as the workers clomped to work was frequently remarked upon in articles about everyday life in the kate 1800s. The term 'clogged up' originates from those streets being 'clogged up' by all the clog wearing workers going to/from the factories.

I have seen old English clogs in the Immigrant Museum on Ellis Island, in various museums in New Zealand, and Tony Barrand tells me that there are some in the museum at Salem in New England. There are also reports of old clogs (maybe home made) in museums in Southern Ireland - but I have not seen them.

Actually eBay.co.uk is an interesting resource for photos of old clogs under the Antiques section. A search for 'wooden shoes' or 'wooden clogs' usually lists some amazing old ones. I am continuously amazed when I post information about this to various mailing lists, e.g. morris@listserv.iupui.edu , where clog maker par excellance Trefor Owen can invariably identify the date, style and maker, and other interesting details.

But dancing clogs were different. They were lighter. Frequently decorated with 'tooling' patterns. They were even coloured. They were for show. They might have been worn for church as Sunday best. There are few makers of step dancing clogs. Trefor Owen is one of the last.

This reminds me some years ago I met a guy Neil / Neal Standring (?) who used to own the old watermill up stream of Sidmouth. He used to tour the old clog makers shops in the North and take photographs of the old clogs left uncollected in the backrooms. Some of these had pointed toes curving upwards and he opined that these were clearly for performing on stage with.

Unfortuntely the mill got flooded out one winter, and Neil / Neal lost all of the photos. I wonder if anyone else has any photos of the old-style dancing clogs?

Tony Barrand himself has some interesting stage dancing clogs from America. These seem to be different from those in England. They were more like conventional shoes but with wooden soles. The soles were invariably split along the instep making them flex more. It would not be possible to dance right up on the toes with these, whereas with Englsh clogs you can. I guess the American version(s) were the forerunners of tap shoes.

lye makerOWN CAN


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Subject: RE: Folklore: English Clog Dancing/ Clogging
From: GUEST,cathy in dc
Date: 22 Sep 13 - 04:43 PM

My deceased husband was, at one time in his life, an English clog dancer. I have a pair of traditional wooden-soled English clogs, size 10, to sell for best offer. Can anyone put me in touch with someone who would appreciate these?

Thanks,

C.


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