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What Is Clogging?

 by Linda Carol Forrest
 Houston, Texas
 
 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
 average.
 
 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
 problem!"
 
 Reprinted from: SQUARE DANCING
 September 1984.