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It’s a Clogging Place

by Emolyn Liden, Writer, Student & Instructor on February 1, 2010

in Music & Dance

Last weekend the Keith House Community Room was taken over with shuffle-step-rock-steps, chugs, and good ole’ plain ole’ stomps!  Eventually we scooted into Tennessee Walking steps, buck steps, and syncopated moves.  My sister, Annie Fain Liden, and I had twelve students and we established first thing on Friday night that we were there to have fun!  Our parents Martha Owen and David Liden provided the music which was much better than any recorded music could ever be.

Martha Owen on banjo and David Liden on fiddle

No matter how you spend the majority of your time, I believe it is important for us all to get up and move around at the end of the day.  There is nothing like walking with friends, exercising to the max, or (my favorite) dancing!   Musicians also know that if they provide a good groove, they will attract dancers.  Clogging can be approached in a variety of ways, informally or with precision.  In the end, clogging is about making beats with your feet, adding to the music as if you, the dancer, are the percussionist, or letting the style of music dictate what sort of rhythm comes from your feet by dancing freestyle.  But, like I said before, no matter the approach it’s all about having fun.

Chloe Davidson and Jessica Kaufman practicing the promenade variation

During the weekend we started each session by stretching and warming-up, then we jumped into an array of steps, and looked at the possibilities of building from basic steps into advanced ones.  By Saturday afternoon the class had learned a new dance vocabulary and so — we then let them lose!  Together they choreographed a dance by picking their favorite steps and fitting them together with the music.  At Show-and-tell on Sunday I proudly introduced the “Folk School Stomp-a-lot-ers” to the crowd.  Confidently the dancers took the floor and clogged the house down.  There was nothing left to sweep up after our number — we danced it all to smithereens!

Weekend classes instruction is from 7-9 Friday night, 9-12 and 1:30-5 Saturday, and 9-11 on Sunday.  The weekend is ended with Show-and-tell and the Closing Ceremony.