What is Clogging, Anyway?

My daughter is a Clogger.

She also does Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Musical Theatre and Hip Hop.

But she absolutely has the most fun when shes clogging.

When we tell non-dance people that she does Clog Dance, we typically know that “Whats that?” or “Like, the shoes?” is going to follow.

We also have to explain the difference between clogging and tap….a lot.

So here is your hard and fast, super-quick Clogging lesson!

Clogging is a unique style of dance and while it is influenced by and similar to Tap and Irish Step it is oh-so-unique and fun to watch.

We dig this description of Clogging from the Dance Connection studio website:

“Clogging originated in the Appalachian Mountains as a mountain man’s folk dance. The roots of this quick step dance come from Irish step dancing (as seen in River Dance) and Holland’s wooden shoe dance. Traditionally, Clogger’s maintained a stiff upper body and danced to bluegrass music. As contemporary clogging emerges, other forms of dance are being incorporated and a variety of music is used. It’s rumored that the Morris Shakers of Europe didn’t allow women to clog. Today, people of all ages and gender enjoy clogging around the world.”

Back in the 1700’s Appalachia was a melting pot for settlers from several locations, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and more. These settlers each brought pieces of their unique culture and this included dance.

As they danced together and their styles blended together, Clogging was born and has constantly evolved from its traditional roots and now encompasses all genres of music, many different elements of dance, and people of all backgrounds.

One way that modern Clogging differentiates from Tap in that tap shoes have a singular tap firmly attached to the shoe to make its sounds and Clogging shoes have a double tap, one attached firmly and another secured over the top of the first tap to give it that distinctive “Clog” sound when they connect.  I can always tell the audible difference between when a Tapper and a Clogger take the stage.

Listen to the difference yourself at the beginning of this video where my daughter Madi demonstrates a few basic Clogging steps!

Clogging and Tap are also different because Clogger’s keep their body more upright and dance more flat footed while tappers bodies are more fluid and they will tap more on their toes than Clogger’s.

You might be thinking “Ok…So clogging is more like Irish dancing then?”

Yeah, it kinda is. But although Clogging is influenced by Irish Dance, a difference is that Irish Step Dance is a very defined style and Clogging is the result of that defined style integrated with many other styles and influences that make it unique.

So to recap, Clogging is kinda like tap and kinda like Irish Dance – they all wear shoes that make cool noises- but Clogging incorporates these styles in a fun and fresh way and transforms them into a style that stands alone with a unique sound and feel that entertain crowds all over the country.

Check out this video of our amateur clogging group performing to an entertaining modern pop song recently. As you’ll note, dancers of ALL ages and abilities can clog and have a blast doing it!

Clog On!








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