Traditional Dance - Appalachian Clogging (Stepping)

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

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If you are reading this, It may be that you have an irresistible urge to dance and that Old-Timey American music or Bluegrass sets your toes tapping. It is easier to start slow and build up speed as you get more relaxed. Some Old-Timey tunes are pleasantly easy-paced, and so I would recommend that you pick those tunes first, and dance at the right speed for the tune, rather than slowing down a tune so that you can dance to it - this loses much of the proper flavour and vitality of the music.

We have however, made some attempt to present slowed-down versions of some tunes, to give learning- and practice-speeds whilst retaining much of the tune's character - I hope this will be useful-Many of the tunes on the tape have interesting opportunities for dancers to use their imagination and humour. Speed isn't everything: much can be lost, and what I hope you will find here is a way to enjoy and express the dancer-musician in you. I have had the luck to work with instrumentalists who are totally absorbed in the music, and the good fortune to have experienced traditional and stage dance of many kinds. Discovering this form of percussive dance has been so exciting for me, bringing together my own Lancashire-Irish heritage with my love of Old-Timey and Bluegrass music, and the overpowering urge to dance. My mother sent me to Ballet lessons when I was three years old, and I took up tap-dancing when I was seven, and so have danced non-stop this past forty-seven years. I can never listen to a tune without wanting to dance. When I was little I never really needed to learn the steps; I just danced. My mum was so worried once that she took me to the doctor to make sure it was healthy, she said I had St Vitas' dance - now there's a name for a tune! I danced to the music and copied anyone else I thought had a good move. So this is really an excuse to say "Here's the music - let the dance begin", or -

"Are yer dancing?"
"Are yer asking?"


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