Monday, June 4, 2012

First Anniversary - a very special 'learning to clog blog' post

Hello, readers new and old!

This is my special surprise to celebrate the first anniversary of my beginning to learn clog dance and blog about it. I simultaneous guest post on my own blog and Susi's 'diddly diddly' blog. First off thanks to Susi for letting me guest post.

The subject up for discussion is Music & Dance....

A broad subject you might say but one which I could wax lyrical about for hours so I will try to keep it concise.

My foray into dance started with a dalliance with playing music which in turn came from listening to music. I wouldn't say I was a dance musician...I wouldn't say I was a good musician, but I enjoy it, which for me is the point. Till I found the concertina and melodeon I never thought I would ever be able to play music (except by putting on a CD of course). But in the squeezebox I've found an instrument that suits *me* and the way I want to play.
Something I found with the box was a sense of rhythm and steady pace. I'm of the opinion I'd rather play a tune well and slowly than fast and badly. And a fast tune is not necessarily more interesting than a slow one. Dance music should make you want to at the least tap your foot...and you can't tap your foot if the music is so fast your foot would wear down to a stump if you tried to keep up. I dislike it when you can't hear the melody breathe.

Since I've started dancing I've found its rather addictive...and one you try one style of dance it can lead on to other types. You also start seeing dance steps you recognize with different names in different dances.
e.g. Susie Q, reminds me of single and double heels

My first exposure to clog dance proper (not clog morris) would be Cheltenham Folk Festival in 2010. When I saw Hannah James & Sam Sweeney perform. I thought the clog dance looked and sounded impressive.
I can't find footage of that day but here's an example

Then at Oxford Folk Festival 2010 I saw the Demon Barber Roadshow....with an impressive array of dancing which showed me it could be 'contemporary' and not just 'traditional'.

Then that same year I went to the Stepdance Day at Worlingworth Swan and had a go at the 'workshop'. I thought...'hmmmm...this could be for me, but I'd like something more structured' - I've never been good at improvisation.

That was where seeing 'Come Clog Dancing' gave me the final push. I wanted to do clog. It just and its a dance I could do solo, didn't have the embarrassment of not having a partner to dance with....and I wouldn't need a great big dance floor, plus it would be something I could do purely for exercise rather than having to dance in a social situation.

First things first. I needed the right equipment. A Board and clogs.  As I wasn't familiar with the clog world I decided to choose Trefor Owen who had featured in the program. And I definitely made the right choice. I love my clogs. So comfortable. Its so nice to have a type of shoe that doesn't rub my ankles or my feet and make them bleed and blister.
Then I looked for tuition. Now where I live is a very long way from the north and not exactly a hub of clog dancing. Nearest place offering regular lessons was Camden, London. Next stop I searched youtube...nothing there. Then I remembered that someone on a forum had mentioned a DVD...which is how I came across Brenda Walker's set of books and DVD's which I've since used for the majority of my learning. With the addition of workshops and an occasional one off lesson from a local dancer.

Its been a year now since I started and am looking forward to another year of dancing.

Want to read more about my experiences learning to dance clog?

Join/Follow me at the learning to clog blog!


  1. Very interesting to get to know your musical "career" a bit more! And thanks for guest posting - my diddley blog has been echoing empty the past week :(

    1. your welcome. glad you liked the post.

  2. You've really done brilliant to get so far in a year and without a regular teacher. Well done! Hope the next year is as productive.

    1. Thank you for all your help and for the book in the first place. :)
      Hope I can work my way through the intermediate section over the next year or so.

  3. I love your new header!!!!

    1. Thanks. I thought as its been a year I should do a new header.