What Is Clogging?
by Linda Carol Forrest
Clogging is a true American folk dance
whose roots are buried deep in the heart of
the Appalachian Mountains. The word "clog"
is Gaelic for "time". ( Gaelic is an ancient
Irish and Scottish dialect.) Clog dancing,
therefore, is "time" dancing, with the heel
being the time-keeper.
In the mid-1700's large numbers of
Scottish, Irish, and German immigrants
settled in the Appalachians, bringing with
them their traditional folk dances. Midst the
splendor of these mountains, clogging was
born as a meld of these folk dances. Many
clogging steps are reminiscent of the Scottish
Highland Fling or the Irish Step Dancing,
while others, with a distinct military sound,
are thought to have come from the Germans.
Clogging of old was done impromptu to
the foot-tapping bluegrass music the also
has its roots in the Appalachians. As
clogging slowly moved out of the mountains
to the flat-lands, special taps were added to
give the dance its distinctive sound. In the
last 10 years, clogging has become
increasingly popular in areas far removed
from the Appalachians, including Louisiana,
Texas, Utah, California and Florida.
In recent years, competitive clogging
has become very popular, especially,
among traditional cloggers The speed in
which these dancers compete is literally
breathtaking, 170 beats per minute is an
Regardless if clogging is done for
competition or for pure enjoyment, it is a fun,
challenging and healthful activity that the
whole family can enjoy. Its rich history and
exciting pace make it appealing to all ages.
As its popularity continues to spread,
clogging enthusiasts may one day be able to
stop saying, "Clogging is not a plumbing
Reprinted from: SQUARE DANCING