Thursday, December 29, 2011

Update 29/12/2011

As promised here is my latest update. Been working on the shuffles and stepping back/over sections.
I've done some of the video from different angles to show that I'm on my toes/doing the heel beats etc.

 
Firstly here we have another attempt at my nemisis the Double Shuffle.
   
Then the Single & Triple Shuffles - not sure if I'm doing them quite right.



Then Stepping Back (without heel beat).


And Stepping Back. (start vid at 0.30)


Stepping Over.
 
Stepping Over & Stepping Back

Next time I will be trying with music.....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Update december

I'm still practicing. Just not got anything new to report yet. Will hopefully have something to post in 2012. ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some Clog Photo's

The sun was shining and it was one of those rare nice autumn/winter days so I went out and took some pics.



They look quite nice against the autumn colours

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clog update 10/11/2011

I know, I know...haven't updated in a while. But here you go I have some videos to tide you over. (recorded after a marathon 45min practice session)
I am still working away at the double shuffle. It is doing my head in. I just can't do it consistently fast enough to keep in time with the music. I run out of 'umph' after the first few bars and get out of time and that's with the 'slow' tune.

On another note:
If anyone hasn't spotted it yet there's a show on ITV1 at 4pm called Ade in Britain. Mondays episode featured some clog making and clog dancing. I believe its still available on ITVplayer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time for an update (October 2011)

So I have been working on stepping over.
and stepping back.
Also working on double shuffle. I am still struggling to do right amount of steps without the book in front of me.

 This is my attempt of doing six 'steps' all in one go without music or looking at book for reference.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

and now...some clogs

So you know I may have mentioned on this blog before that I was thinking of painting the board I stepped on.
Well....I did it in the end (see above).
It started off as I'd done some practice (stepping back & stepping over) and found that unless I started in exactly the right place my foot slipped off the board back or front. So I found the right start position and drew round my feet in pencil. But it was very faint, so I thought I know I'll paint round the outline in red. Got out the watercolours and started painting....and well one thing led to another and before I knew it I'd painted a pair of clogs on the board.


When you look from the right angle they look a bit 3D. Very pleased with the result.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Swishy skirt....dance


So I've been making dress from a retro 1950's pattern. I love the swishy circle skirt part. Was thinking it would make a great skirt for dancing in.
Question is plain colour or pretty print?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stepping over...

Still struggling with double shuffle, can do it slowly on my own and with slow bit on DVD. But once I try it with music I seem to lose timing with it.

On another note had a go at doing 'stepping over'. Managed to do it very slowly. Getting used to the Tap Step 'step' and judging how much space I have on the board to dance it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

update 10/10/2011

Had a go dancing to this tune.
Apologies probably spelt the name wrong.

Micky Callahans by Ladydetemps

Will have to do another video soon.

----

Been watching all the videos on youtube from clogfest 2011. Find them quite inspirational. Wish I could go to it.
Here's one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Double & Single heels - new video

Ok. I think I have got it. (and my playing is getting steadier too but that's another matter).

Really pleased. :)

Now just Double Shuffle left to master.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shameless blog promotion

Just to let my readers know. I have another blog.
http://stitchintimeandspace.blogspot.com/
Where I post about sewing, music, history, sci-fi and anything that takes my fancy.
I've already made quite a few posts and welcome comments.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

atishoo!

It seems cold and clog don't mix...well I suppose I can time a shuffle with a sneeze. lol!
So having a little break from it for a few days.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Double and single heels...woo.

Woo!
Managed to do double & single heels at faster speed. Then paused DVD and tried it twice and it still worked. I found it easier to find the groove when I went faster than going slower. Weird huh?
Next step: practice till I can do it to different hornpipe.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mirror, Mirror...

Mirror, Mirror on the wall who does the roundest shuffles of the all.....
I can't believe I had never thought of this before. Balancing mirror up against the wardrobe so I can see my footwork without leaning over and loosing my balance.
p.s. excuse the mess.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Double, Double toil and trouble...

These are the two steps I'm struggling with....

Double & Single Heels
Start this video from 0.17 I 'cut' the video in the wrong place so you get my mess up at the beginning.

Double Shuffle

I just can't get into the double shuffle after a break....the rhythm just goes potty.


btw. 'Music to Clog to' arrived yesterday. :) Will have to test it out this evening.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

another video

Here's my latest video. I'm going to try and do some more but ran out of time today.
Still not quite getting hang of the double & single heels. Not getting in the groove shall we say...keep getting ahead of myself. And trying to remember where I am with the double shuffle is another thing still working on.
Think I''m gonna have to record music at slower tempo to dance to for that till I stop making mistakes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

rounded shuffles

Been working on doing rounded shuffles. Think I am getting the hang of it now.
Easier on left foot than right.
Looks like I'm waiting impatiently for the kettle to boil when practice shuffles in kitchen area. lol!

On side note.
Just realized my first blog post was in June so that's about 3 months I've been learning.

Monday, September 12, 2011

still going...

Did some practice over weekend etc. again. Give it a week might have a new progress video up.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Update 8/9/2011

Yesterday's one off 2 hour lesson went well. I was exhausted afterwards (not used to that much exercise) I am so unfit. lol!
Enjoyed it though. Definitely boosted my confidence.
Felt my balance/posture has improved too.
I did have to laugh every time I finished on the wrong foot.
Ended up doing the steps faster than I have been doing at home
So that's in improvement too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Feet!

Here's a subject that I think relates to the clog dance....feet.

I am by nature quite a sedentary person. My feet have always been a problem. Finding shoes that don't end up with blisters or bleeding ankles is hard for me.
I have found the clogs (a lovely custom pair from Trefor Owen) I have comfortable and have not had any of the usual problems.

In general though I have recently had to take more care of my feet after spotting I had an ingrowing toenail about 6 months ago.

Got myself a routine.
- soak feet in salt water
- cut tonails (I find if nail gets too long it aggravates ingrowing toenail)
- cream feet

I find if I leave off the routine for more than a couple of days the cracked heels and dry skin come back.

Keeping my feet healthy is also more of a focus as that's what I'm dancing with...and don't like having to put off practice coz my feet are sore.

On another note practiced again last night.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Excuses...excuses....

I'm afraid didn't get any practice done this weekend either. :blush:
Was at EATMT Traditional Music Day on the Saturday
http://www.eatmt.org.uk/tmd.htm
Watching the stepdancing and playing in the sessions mainly. Had really nice day. And the Weather was fab.

I will be doing some practice this evening. As managed to get a one off clog lesson locally. So I'll let you know how I get on after that on Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Clog related stuff

So yes I was a bit quiet this weekend...because I was at shrewsbury folk festival. But managed to find lots of clog related stuff inbetween trying to see every act I wanted to....so much to see so little time.
One of the highlights of the festival was 'ClogFest' which wasn't really explained in the programme but thought I'd go along anyway and thoroughly enjoyed it.
And here is some clog to some 'diddling' (I think its called). Guarantee you'll be earwormed by it.


Also saw Stony Steppers dance on the village stage.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some more vids

So here is my latest attempt.
First schottiche progression

Second schottiche progression

Progress report 19/8/2011

Just to keep you up to date been focusing on trying to get comfortable with the double shuffle...and not loosing where I am. (I keep getting lost and not remembering how many steps I've done and if its time for the break. lol!)
Also working on the second scottiche progression. Remembering to go behind not in front....and not to step off the board. I have about 1cm margin of error in order to have room to shuffle in front and step behind.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Clog on TV

Come clog dancing was on tv again last night.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wmy5q
Watched it again 'understanding' more. Focusing on bits I wouldn't have focused on before.
And if you haven't watched it yet...I challenge you to watch it and not go 'ooh, I want to try that'. ;)


Caught the end of the folk prom too (clogging there)...will have to watch that on i-player.

On another note did a slow 'dance through' all the steps including double shuffle all in order. Unfortunately I don't have it all memorized yet still need the book in front of me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Modern music?

I was looking round the shops the other day, and listening to some of the modern 'dance' music they blast out. I attempted some of the clog steps to it. And for one of the songs it worked. Maybe its the steady beat was what made it possible?

Sorry short but sweet post today. Can't always find something to report each day. But like to make at least one or two posts a week. (been working on my (lack of) sewing skills this week).

Friday, August 5, 2011

....new tunes

This is the extra bit. I tried dancing 2nd Scottiche to tune on DVD used for first schottiche progression.
Steamboat Hornpipe. As you can tell its only third time through I get the hang of the rhythm.

Update 5/8/2011 (Shuffles, heels and different tunes)

Hello Readers!
Here is me long awaited update. Quite a few videos this time so may split into to posts.
Firstly the double shuffle. Seems to be one of those things some days I can do it others I can't. It's like my balance just disappears. As you can see this video is of a work in progress.

Secondly started working on Double & Single Heels at Brenda's suggestion. :)

Here is video of third schottiche. I decided to keep in the mistake....and where I slip off the board. Not for amusement..just to illustrate the little issues I have sometimes. lol!

And here's a hesitant 2nd schottiche....
Comments Welcome

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Update 3/8/2011

As I haven't updated in a while.

Did a medium paced 'dance through' scottiche 1-3 then did the 'single and double heels' followed by the double shuffles.
Phew!
Was exhausted after that...I am soooo unfit.

There will be video updates soon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Skipping....

Youtube recommended this video to me yesterday and I just had to post it.
I find it hard enough to play melodeon sitting down...impressed at the dancing and playing.

It must take lots of concentration to skip while stepping.

Anyway...you will now be returned to regular posting. ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Clothes maketh a (wo)man...

Clothes maketh a (wo)man...to misquote a saying.
Been thinking a lot about clothes. I think reading a book about outfits through the ages first prompted it.
It kinda recalled to my mind reading here
"Any style may be danced. Clogs must be worn and traditional costume is preferred in all competitions except the Group Section."

So what is traditional costume?

In Essex it seems to be, peroxide blonde, white shoes, short skirt and an unflattering top. ;) Somehow I don't think that's what is meant.


Anyway back to my question for clog, what is the traditional costume, and what is the 'perfect' outfit?

I'm finding baggy trousers don't work...and they cover the shoes and if I'm not careful I step on my own hems.

Purely concerned with outfit...
e.g. Skirt or trousers? How long? Colours/fabrics? What kind of Top? Seperate top and bottoms or a dress? Anything in the hair? Hairstyles?

To quote a quote "of course it's traditional - we did it last year, didn't we?!" ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Update 26/7/2011

I know been a bit quiet...been busy practicing.
Actually managed to just keep up with the full speed bit of the First Schottiche video. So had to re record the track fast so I could make a new video at speeded up pace. Bit wobbly in places.



Here is First Scottiche Progression. Which is ...a work in progress...I have a tendency to forget where I am and get all the right steps in the wrong places.

Comments welcome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

...clogs and mills

Yep...I know haven't posted over last few days. Been off on a whistlestop holiday up to Derbyshire.
Why is this relevant you ask?

According to wiki
"It is thought to have developed in the Lancashire cotton mills where wooden-soled clogs were preferred to leather soles because the floors were kept wet to help keep the humidity high, important in cotton spinning.
Workers sitting at the weaving machines wore hard-soled shoes, which they would tap to the rhythms of the machines to keep their feet warm. At their breaks and lunches, they would have competitions, where they were judged on the best rhythm patterns. In later years of the Industrial Revolution,they clog-danced on proper stages at competitions. In these competitions, the judges would watch the routine and judge it according to footwork, precision, and technique."


Well when I was there we looked round some old mills.
Cromford Mill...where saw some spinning....and them the textile museum at Masson Mills.






It was interesting...although bit disappointed didn't get there in time to see the weaving demonstration.


Will be back to practicing tonight.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update 10/7/2011

So writing again...Thought I'd put up a video of where I am so far. I have been experimenting with trying the same steps to different tunes...but it doesn't work. My brain gets distracted by thinking 'ooh, what's that tune' instead of counting steps. lol!


Here is the first schottiche (progression) as you can see work in progress. Haven't started adding music yet either.

And the second schottiche. Which I'm struggling not to fall off the board with at the moment. I have to try not to move around the board so much (including narrowly near the edge).
They are both still needing practice and are a bit wobbly. Trying to read the steps and do them might be a factor.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

progression...

So currently trying 1st Schottiche Progression - Having to stand on board facing the other way so I can hop shuffle and still stay on the board.

Second Schottiche - worked out there's a fine line between stepping off the board and stepping on my toes. lol!

Sat and 'walked through' third schottiche as well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Update 4/7/2011

Managed to do brief practice. Here is latest updated video. Apologies for my terrible playing.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ouch - update

Tried again. I think I'll give it another day. Can put weight on left foot but can't 'hop' or 'spring' on Left as ankle hurts too much.
Still 'walked' through steps sitting down though so time wasn't wasted.
Once I figure out what is actually happening at weekend (no one tells me anything) I can see when I might fit in recording another video update.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ouch...

Well was practicing last night went hop, hop, hop...spring onto left foot (landed a bit heavily) and 'Ouch'. Had to put right foot down coz left just wouldn't take my weight.
I can walk on it it just hurts when I stand on left foot on its own.

I think I'll erm...have to rest it for a bit just 'walk through' the steps sitting down instead.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Double shuffle.....

Whoop! Tried the 'double shuffle' yesterday (despite the oppressively hot weather) and did it without falling over or doing a 'wobble' this I'm quite pleased about.
As I was worried that after a weekend of no practice I'd forget how to do stuff.

Hopefully I'll record a video soon.

btw. Any advice on posture/technique? Should my knees be bendy (like shock absorbers) or more stiff. I just wonder as my stepping seems a bit smudgy rather than precise....or will that come in time?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Practice....practice....practice

So....really need a post to put up for today...thought I'd explain my practice regime.
It goes something like this:
1. Step/Shuffle exercise
2. Hop/Spring exercise
3. Sit on chair with feet on board - walk through first/first progression/second/third schottiche (easy when siting down. lol!).
4. Stand up and run through first schottiche all the way through.
5. Go back and do the bits I did wrong right but slower.
6. Have a go at other schottiches in book.
7. Anything I'm not sure on....put DVD on and watch, annotating the book with things that will remind me of how to correlate the two. e.g. with first schottiche worked out instead of pausing to turn the page over that it just repeated....(so if I just drew brackets - round first 2 paragraphs of steps and wrote x3 it was the same).

Friday, June 17, 2011

music and dance

Not just been trying the dancing...been playing the tunes as well. Noticing an improvement.
Tried Fisherman's hornpipe on fiddle...which feels quite nice to play, and I notice a 'bounce' to it.  Just wish it didn't sound so screechy.
So this is it on melodeon.


Next one to do is steamboat hornpipe. Tried playing it a while back.
Here:


Here is the latest version

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Latest vid...now with sound

So I managed to finally record Fisherman's Hornpipe with few enough mistakes that it might be dancable. Took me a while to figure out how to play the music and record the tap sound of the steps at same time.
Went with melodeon rather than fiddle version....as easier on the ear.

Update 16/6/2011

Been doing another exercise suggested by Brenda. Springing & Hopping.
Quite exhausting (I am so unfit) but fun.
And here is basic break again...
and First Scottiche
I have tried the first scottiche (progression) but manage to sit down suddenly every time I do the hop shuffle. lol!

Technical note: I used an external mic placed close to the board for the sound.
Now for some reason I have the Okycokie stuck in my head???

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Decorating...board to step on

Here is the board I have
Mum wants to 'decorate' it. I said just put a nice stain on it or a white wash so it matches the other wood in the room.
But mum would like to plaint it blue with a big flower in the middle.
I said why not do a nice watercolour scene on it. Or maybe striped like a deckchair...

So what do you think? And suggestions or recommendations?

Springing to action...

Last night I managed to follow along with the 'slow' video and keep up. Only got the wrong foot twice. lol! (Case of wrong foot right rhythm). At least I kept going rather than crumbling to a halt.

Which was a nice milestone.

Only thing is I'm starting to doubt myself. Was reading the glossary at back of book. And started to think but that's not what I'm doing..but it looks/sounds okay to me?* Maybe I'm getting the wrong end of the stick?

*Spring R Straight tap L in place...I think I might be doing more of a hop than a spring


btw. On a side note. Managed to get dots for fisherman's hornpipe the other day...and I'm noticing a nice 'bounce' when I play it on fiddle. Maybe learning to dance does help playing music. Gotta get the hang of it on melodeon next.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Walking before I can run...

Decisions, decisions...should I keep working on first schottiche till I get it perfect, or try first schottiche (progression)?
Should I work on my, erm, balance a bit more?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Update 12/06/2011

So got the board on saturday. And today I decided to record some videos to show where I'm up to.
Firstly the shuffle step exercise Brenda mentioned.

then the 'break' on its own

then me trying to do first scottiche all the way through

comments and advice welcome...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Update 9/6/2011

1. Thanks to Deborah for donating me a piece of wood (picking it up at weekend).

2. Will be working on my shuffle....I realised I was just just wiggling my foot while brushing it along the ground and hoping for the best, so have made a concerted effort to analyze what I need to do, to do it properly. (Shuffling on tiles office kitchen floor while waiting for kettle to boil in lunch break is the plan. lol)

3. To get the tunes/rhythm in my head I am making myself an i-pod playlist of tunes from the DVD. Thanks Brenda for sending the list. :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stepping on concrete

So I had a sneaky quick go at trying the steps on the concrete while the weather was good and no one was watching.
Didn't slip over!
Getting further...although still adjusting to being on toes all the time (I don't wear heels...but can walk on stilts).

Only thing is the concrete has left the bottom of the clogs of pockmarked. Experts is this a bad thing?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some history....

Showed my grandad & grandma my clogs the other day.
My Grandad turns round to say his Dad told him his dads mum (My great great grandmother) used to own a pub in Grimsby, where she clog danced. How weird is that. lol!
I hope it's true and I've inherited the right genes. ;)

7/6/2011 update

I just found the slow motion option on my macbook dvd player...ah, now 'spring R stright tap L front' makes a bit more sense...can't do it [without slipping over] but I understand it. lol!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Left or Right Foot?

Okay....now worked out a system now. I clench my hand into a fist on the side I start on...that way I remember where I am at the end.

All the right steps but not necessarily in the right order...

To misquote Morcombe and Wise. ;)
Well at the moment I'm saying the steps out loud as I do them slowly. In hope of memorising them. (Can't read the book at watch the screen at same time. lol!)
Remembering what foot I started on by the time I get to the end, so I know which foot to start on next is the problem at the moment.

Going to practice on the tiled floor in the kitchen at work at lunch...while I wait for the microwave to cook my food. lol!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Videos and boards

Been enjoying watching the videos on the 'clogfest' channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/clogfest

Looks fun!

In other news on hunt for some kinda wood board to dance on. I did notice an empty wooden pallet left outside a shop for rubbish collection but wasn't sure which shop to go and ask if I could take it. Plus it was rather heavy. Maybe a trip to B&Q is needed instead? Problem is I don't do DIY...so I'd need some help. Oh well.....

Left, shuffle right, hop....erm....what was that again?

Why is it whenever I hear music I suddenly forget which is right and which is left?
The Book/DVD arrived yesterday...had a quick speed read of the book, watched all the DVD.
Then tried to go slowly but for some reason hoping in slow motion doesn't work...especially when I haven't got a board only got carpet. Ended up sitting on the floor a few times. lol!
My solution hang on to the radiator to keep upright. ;)
I think I've got the hang of the first scottiche (shouting left, right! to myself)....well except the 'break'....now if only I could do it in time to the music.
I never realised how tiring it would be...maybe I'm just unfit? Actually no maybe about it I am unfit.
I expected it to be more like those dance mat games
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_pad
But its actually not that easy. lol!

Strictly Clog Dancing

So I saw 'Come Clog Dancing' on the BBC and it made me think 'Yeah I want to try that'.

(See link below for clip)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11930057

It was definitely English Step Clog I wanted to do rather than NW morris clog or Appalacian.

First thing I did was order clogs from Trefor Owen.

And several months later they arrived. Aren't they pretty?


My second though was 'Get some lessons or to a workshop' now problem is asking around takes time...and I seem to have missed a lot of stuff earlier in the year. So gotta wait and wait and wait around for workshops.
So decided to be pro-ctive. Couldn't find any youtube tutorials but found a DVD/book for beginners.
So have decided to get it, that way I can work at my own pace and might have a chance of picking it up in a group or workshop situation.

More updates soon.