The hardwood installation in our den wrapped up yesterday. After the floor was dusted off and polished, I thought: that’s the perfect floor for clogging.
Strange thought? Maybe. But I grew up around the traditional American folk dance. It has deep roots in Appalachia and is one of North Carolina’s official state dances.
Sometimes called stomping, clogging is performed in shoes with double-tapped soles to bluegrass, old-time, or traditional Appalachian music. It dates back to the 18th century when settlers from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Germany combined dance traditions.
By the end of the 1800s, freestyle clogging had spread throughout the Southern Appalachians. Team clogging didn’t come around until the 1920s. It was born in Asheville and popularized when the Soco Gap Dancers performed at the White House in 1939.
Papaw was on a clogging team when I was growing up. The Southern Express dance team traveled all over the place to clog. I remember trips to Cherokee, Knoxville, and Myrtle Beach.
Watching Papaw dance made me want to learn too. So Mamaw signed me up for lessons at the Canton YMCA when I was a little thing. Once I knew what I was doing, Papaw started taking me with him to go dance.
Even though I left the mountains as a kid, I clogged well into my teen years. Every time I came home, Papaw took me out dancing.
I haven’t been out clogging since Papaw passed. But sometimes, after a drink or two, I turn on some bluegrass and stomp through the house.
Do you know how to clog too? Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear about it!
In years past there was always a fiddlers convention taking place in a school gym or auditorium, civic center or simply a big shed somewhere every weekend. And where there was bluegrass music there would be cloggers! I very much enjoyed listening to the music and watching the clogging, but I definitely lacked the talent to join in.
It was still like that when I was a kid. Every time there was an event with bluegrass in Haywood County, the cloggers would show up and show out. 🙂