If you’ve seen some of the recent posts on our studio Facebook, you’ve seen that I have been trying to build the studio. Part of building the studio is working on helping people see how great the studio is. A main factor in that is what sets you apart from other studios. Symphony Dance is the only studio in Rochester and surrounding areas to offer clogging classes. There are also very few studios in the entire state of New York that know much about clogging, but clogging is a dance style that is recognized around the world and well-known in many other areas.
I first became interested in clogging as a child. I was at one of those dance studios where you take tap and ballet as a combination and until you are asked to be on a competition team (which I was asked, but it’s a long story-different blog.) When you take these combination classes, they don’t push you very much and the choreography leaves something to be desired. Studios like this think “why spend a lot of energy on them if they aren’t competition” or if “they” (the dancer and their family a.k.a. the customer) aren’t spending a lot of money. (Also a different blog.)
The point here is I wasn’t loving what I was doing and I saw clogging and thought, “now that’s awesome!” It seemed so much more exciting than the tap dancing I had been doing. They looked like they were doing something similar to tap but their shoes made noises that were a little different, their legs were up higher, the energy was higher, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun! I had found my new dance style! I stepped into the clogging world and while I still get training, go to workshops and continuing education, and teach many other styles…I will always be a clogger too.
Clogging is a dance style that came about in the early colonial days. All of the settlers would come together and one of the easiest ways to “communicate” was through dance. Irish settlers, English settlers, German settlers-you name it. They didn’t speak the same language but they all have a shared culture united through dance. They would come together and dance together and through this styles were blended and through the years. Clogging became the official dance representation of the “melting pot.”
Clogging has now evolved into something that incorporates tap dancing, square dancing, step dance, hip hop, some jazz, some cheerleading, and can be danced to all styles of music. Clogging has been featured on television shows like America’s Got Talent, America’s Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Fever, 15 Seconds to Fame, and even had a TLC special-“Down South Dance”. (Clogging is extremely popular in the southeast.)
Clogging is very similar to tap but where tap is on the upbeat, clogging is on the downbeat. If you clap along to a piece of music, the part when your hands come apart is the upbeat and the part where you clap is the down beat. Clogging also adds an extra tap to the shoe that is loose…a “jingle tap.” Clogging can be very advanced, but is typically very easy to catch on to and can be fun, even in the most beginner dances.
I’ve had many a beginner clogger tell me that they have two left feet and those same dancers are now advanced Cloggers and some have even developed their dance talents further into other styles and clogging was the dance style that built their confidence and was a stepping stone for them. I can’t tell you how many dancers I’ve had who struggled to hear the beat and finding that downbeat in clogging strengthened their internal rhythm. I’ve had tappers who were pretty good before but when they added clogging in to their training they excelled in both areas.
Clogging is a dance form that is evolving and growing and is taking off. Clogging is danced from California to Maine and around the world and also at Symphony Dance in Irondequoit, NY. Come clog with us!