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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Clogging
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Clog dance history Origin Title   The Clog Dance is said to be the fore-runner of the Folk Dance. The Lancashire Animated Irisih Cog Dancer
 Clog, which is a more complicated dance form than that of the levee clog dancers. The clog dance
made some contributions to Tap dance as well. In the 1520's the Italians referred to it as "des sabots". The word "clog" is Gaelic and means "time".

    The most difficult of the Irish (British Isles) clogs are the Irish Jigs, Hornpipes and Reels. In some of these the feet can tap the floor more than seventy times in fifteen seconds. In clog dancing, no thought is given to facial, line expressions and the arms are kept motionless. clog contests in the 19th. century would have the judges sit behind

a screen or under the dance floor, judging the sounds rather than the body movements of the dancers. Originally this dance was performed in wooden shoes called clogs, but later would be performed in wooden soled shoes. During the 1760s' clog dancing would find it's way to the Appalacian Mountan Area's thru the immagrant's who migrated there. Thru this diversification of dance cultures mixing, the American Clog dance (aka: Hillbily Tap Dance) would be born becoming a part of many American dance forms.

      Minstrel clog dancers would soon become Tap dancers in the early 1900's and Master Juba would be the King of them all. For several decades Tap and clog would flourish successfully together. The clog dance almost came to oblivion because of the mixing of the Clog and Shuffle dances of the African- Americans (today known as Tap) by the end of the 19th. century.

     When George H. Primrose danced the clog without the wooden soles he invented the Soft-Shoe routine. Barney Williams was the first professional clog dancer to come to the U.S. in 1840. The first professional dancers (troupe) in the U.S. were the Irish Clog Dancers (traced to pre-Christian Ireland). These dancers that followed were called "Song and Dance Men" in the Minstrel-Vaudeville shows. Kitty O'Neal is said to be the first American female clog dancer.

     In 1866, the Black Crook, considered to be the first musical, featured Minstrel and Clog dancers who danced very stiffly and gave rise to the term Pedestal dancer. In 1902 at the New York Theater Roof, Ned Wayburn created a theatre play called "Minstrel Misses" and it is said was here he coined the term "Tap and Step dance" in this musical play. This was the first time these names had been used professionally. The misses used light clogs with split wooden soles because aluminum heel and toes taps did not appear till a decade later.

     The Pedestal dancer would climb upon a marbled or gilded pedestal (24 inch base) and basically clog or Tap out a routine while posing as motionless as a statue. Henry E. Dixey who used to whitewash himself, was one such dancer that was known as a Pedestal dancer, he would be presented to the stage as a statue on a pedestal in the likes of Apollo or Discobulos. When the curtains parted he would start clog dancing on the pedestal in a statue like motion, only moving the feet and legs.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Lancashire ?1600s? n/a Folk / Solo

Posters, Lobby Cardsetc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a Clog Dance (Hanson) Clog Dance (Hanson)
            Dickie Rogers' Pedestal Clog
            Fred Wilson's Clog
            Pedestal, The
            Tableau Clog
            Turkey in the Straw

Night Clubs



n/a n/a Appalachian & Ozark Mountains

Related Films


Ballets / Stage

1898 - Clog Dancing (Burns) 1949 - ABC Barn Dance 1866 - The Black Crook
1898 - Scotch Reel 1953 - Old American Barn Dance 2/20/1879 - San Francisco Minstrels
(Hayle & Pickert)
1898 - Sailor's Hornpipe      
1898 - Irish Jig       1923 - Topsy and Eva (Gehue)
1929 - Marking Time (Pat Rooney jr.)      


Magnificent Beginnings [DVD]*       8/25/1941 - Life Magazine

Other Related Dances over time...

Arkansas Traveler Dixie Lancashire Clog Soft Shoe
Barn dance Flamenco Old Paul Jones Tap dance
Breakdown Folk Dance Pigeon Wing Volta
Buck Dance Gigue / Jig Reels Waltz Clog (3/4 time)
Captain Jinks HornPipe Round Dance Yankee Doodle
Celtic Clog Juba Dance Shim Sham Virginia Reels
Contredanse Jump Jim Crow Strathspey Walk Around

Clog Dance Music Titles ... Pre - 1900 (L=Lancashire)

Blue Stocking Clog Early Morn (L) Clog Lady Templeton's Nightingale
Blue Violet Clog Empress Clog Larry O'niel's Clog Novelty (L) Clog
Bob Taylor's Clog Fagan and Fenton's Lee's Double Clog Old Ironsides (L)
Bonnie Annie Clog Fishermans' Frolic (L) Lotus Club (L) Clog On the Road
Cameron's Favorite (L) Flee As A Bird (L) Louisville Clog Remembrance of Dublin
Celtic Clog Fly By Night (L) Minnie Foster's Clog Skip-Rope Clog
Cincinnati (L) Clog Gray's Opera House Minstrels' fancy Souvenir (L) Clog
City Life Clog Great Western (L) Money in Advance Statue Clog
Dick Carrol's Clog Jennings' Champion Muncie's Favorite (L) Tammany Ring Clog
Dickie Rogers' Pedestal Johnnie Queen's New Orleans (L) The Monarch Clog

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Barney Fagan James Cornning (1910) n/a
Barny Williams Johnny Diamond  
Bascom Lamar (1920) Kitty O'Neal (1800's)  
Billy Woods & Sons Master Juba  
Bojangles (Waltz Clog) Mayme Gehue (Topsy & Eva)  
Burns, Mr. Ratus  
Carolina Cloggers (1950s) Thomas Dan Rice  
Dick Pelham Willie Covan (1910s)  
Hayle & Pickert Zip Coon  
Henry E. Dixey    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Jig, clog, and breakdown dancing made easy James, E. 1873 n/a
Clog Dancing Made Easy Tucker, Henry 1874 De Witt
The Clog Dance Book Frost, Helen 1921 Barnes and Noble
Tap Caper and Clog Frost, Helen 1931 Barnes and Noble
Cowboy Dances Shaw, Lloyd 1939 n/a
Concerning Clogs Dobson, Bob 1974 Dalesman publishing

Composers / Musicians



Poets / Writers

Howard Hanson n/a n/a n/a

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Banjo Flute Morris Settlements
Barn Dance Folk Puritan 'Split Clog' tap shoes
Country Gigue Ritual Square Dance
English Jingle taps Round Dance Tavern
Fiddle Minuet    


  • The basic clogging step is a two-tap movement (or double toe). To execute a double toe, quickly brush the ball of the foot fwd. and back (snap kicking forward from the knee, then allowing the leg to fall back) which should make two 'tap-tap' sounds. The basic clog step consists of 'Double toe step, Rock-Step, Left, Right, Left'.