Traditional Dance - Appalachian Clogging (Stepping)

A how-to-do-it tutorial by Rosie Davis

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Warming up to the music

Use a slowish number from one of the Just the Tune CDs (see appendix for tune suggestions) series to warm up to:

1) Clap and/or walk and/or step to the music.

2) Tap the floor with the toes, tap the floor with the heels, stretch arms and legs gently and get your body ready to exercise. Bend the knees gently, keeping the knee aligned over the foot.

3) Take it easy - always start gently and stop if you feel any strain. Be careful with the knees, as they absorb the shock of the feet striking the floor.

4) Try to use as little effort as possible to make the sound, keep low and relaxed, open up the rib cage and keep breathing!

It can be dangerous to exercise without supervision; so take in a general exercise class to help you get fit. Clogging is a great way to enjoy yourself, but is not a fitness programme - there are no safeguards built into the technique.

If you know you have problems with your physique, work on it with a qualified yoga / dance / fitness instructor, and take advice as to your general fitness before getting into clogging. The danger is that once you get going you won't be able to stop, and any little problem can become a big one.

Obviously there will be some building up of muscles, working on timing can mean many repeats, so I suggest that, when warming up, exercising or choreographing a dance that is to be practiced and performed many times, care should be taken to make the body work as evenly as possible, so as not to develop one side more than the other.

Start the exercises with alternate feet so as to develop evenly even if in performance you only use your best side.

Remember no tape or book can take the place of a good workshop, series of classes or a good dancer who can analyse technique for you. However, time spent on your own, discovering the possibilities of the music and exploring dance as a means of expression is great fun and gives a chance to sort out the tricky bits at your own pace.
A step is so easy when you know how, but so difficult when you don't.


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