If music gets your feet tapping, why not get up and do some clogging? It’s great exercise and teaches rhythm and foot coordination.
Originating in Lancashire around the end of the 18th century, clog dancing was a natural activity for the people who went to work in the textile mills of the industrial revolution.
Clogs were a warm, dry and cheap item of footware and the metal rims made a sharp tapping sound on the flagstones. The weavers would rattle their feet to keep warm and tap out rhythms in time with the machinery to keep their spirits up through the long hours at work.
These simple steps were put together to make dances and by the 1850’s every village had their champion clog dancer, much in demand at weddings, barn dances, harvest homes etc.
The dances soon spread and developed regional styles, emigrants even took them to the Appalachian mountains of America.
The “Corner Boys” of Lancashire met on street corners and learned to dance on flagstones with iron-shod clogs creating showers of sparks as a finale. Often two dancers would be accompanied by a boy playing the kazoo and would receive wild applause and collect pennies in an upturned hat.
Clog dancing reached its height in popularity in Lancashire between the 1870’s and 1890’s but during the 20th century picture houses and variety shows offered people alternative entertainment. Fortunately there was a revival in interest in the 1950’s enabling the old dancers to pass on their skills to future generations.
Although wearing clogs is thought of as a feature northern life, clogs were worn in the south of England in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Dance styles/specific backgrounds: Yorkshire Mill dance, Lancashire steps, Welsh Broom steps, Canal steps.
Solo stepping/competition dances: Music hall, Northwest Clog Morris, Tap.
Rhythms: March, Waltz, Hornpipe
What Tradamis offers
A percussive dance workshop, teaching the basic skills of rhythmic, percussive dance without the need for specialist footwear
- Demonstration/presentation explaining history & origins and regional characteristics.
- Investigate with pupils different ways of creating percussive rhythms eg clapping stamping feet work with the percussive rhythms to create an accompaniment for dancing. To appreciate the relationship between working environments and traditional dances.
- Devise simple movements and steps using the creative rhythms.
- Create and rehearse percussive movement sequences.
- Plenary session – consider ways of developing the movements to create unique styles and dances.
Hard-soled outdoor shoes required – not trainers.
- Watching & listening – visual & aural skills observation & evaluation
- Movement skills
- Team work
- Confidence building
Where can you get clogs?
Today, clogs we wear for dancing have wooden soles without rubbers or irons so that they don’t mark or damage floors. English clogs have wooden soles, with leather uppers.
- 0161 494 0224
- 07712 822453
For second hand clogs try eBay. Look for clogs which are for dancing, also check the sizes as the sizing system for clogs isn’t the same as for shoes.