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What is clogging?

Clogging is an American form of dance that somewhat resembles tap dancing. (Clogging was actually a forerunner to tap.) Clogging shoes look similar to tap shoes (cloggers do not wear wooden shoes, as many people believe!), except that they have two taps nailed together instead of just one. This creates an extra "jingling" sound that tap shoes cannot produce. There are several basic movements involved in clogging, including the double-step, rock step, stomp, kick, heel, drag, slide, and toe, which compose the countless steps and songs cloggers perform. Clogging is an upbeat, social form of dance that requires both precision and enthusiasm.

Where did clogging originate?

Clogging originated in the Appalachian Mountains. In the mid 1700s, settlers new to America would get together in the evenings and share their countries' folk songs and dances. The different dances from around the world combined to form an impromptu-style, rhythmic dance, which we now refer to as clogging. Over time, the dancing became more organized and clogging teams were formed. The Soco Gap Cloggers (pictured right) were one of the first official clogging teams. It wasn't until the late 1920s that taps were added to clogging shoes, which made sound an increasingly important part of clogging.

Soco Gap Clogging Team

How has clogging evolved over time?

Clogging has changed a lot since its humble beginnings in the Appalachian Mountains. Originally, cloggers danced almost entirely to bluegrass music. However, modern groups like ours dance to a variety of popular, country, and traditional clogging music. The clogging steps themselves have also changed, reflecting the influences of modern dance styles such as tap, Canadian Step Dancing, and even street dancing. In the 1980s, buck dancing, a more complicated form of clogging, emerged for the first time, and quickly became an important influence on the modern clogging style. Despite the changes it has seen, clogging continues to represent a true "melting pot" of dance styles throughout America and the world.

Cloggers at IPCA workshop

How did our group begin?

Cloggin' Craze is a relatively new group, led by Carol Hedlin of New Lenox. She and her daughters, Chris and Kim, had been members of a local clogging team for over ten years. When that group disbanded before the summer of 2004, they decided to start their own team. They created Kidz Clog for kids ages six to eighteen and Cloggin' Craze for adults. For the first summer, the group practiced in the Hedlins' driveway, but starting in the fall of 2004, classes met at the Francis Field building in New Lenox.

Since our beginning, we have grown in many ways! We started with about a dozen dancers and now have over eighty. The summer of 2005, we began performing at local events, and have continued expanding our performance line-up ever since. We have also enjoyed participating in activities through the Illinois Prairie Clogging Association (IPCA). In the picture above left, members of Kidz Clog and Cloggin' Craze pose in crazy hats at an IPCA clogging workshop.

Be sure to also check out the Kidz Clog website to learn more about our kids' group!

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