New Beginner Class To
Start - September 24, 2014
The group will start a new beginning clogging class
this fall. The class will be Wednesday evenings, 6:30-7:30
pm at a studio in the Ashland area of San Leandro. If interested, contact Lois Elling to
confirm attendance. It's a 12-week class open to
all ages, although kids 12 and under should be accompanied
by an adult. For more information,
Elling or download
About Our Group
The Diablo Mountain Cloggers were formed in 1974 and have been based in Walnut Creek, California most of that time. They are an informal group of people, all ages, who enjoy clogging. Although members are usually adults, children and teens are welcome, also. Instructor and director of the club is Lois Elling, who has been with the group since its inception and teaching them since 1976.
The club meets each Wednesday evening and
dances and learns new and old clogging dances and steps. Each
night there is dancing at easy to advanced level clogging. We
currently dance every Wednesday evening 6:30-9:30 pm at a studio in the Ashland area of San Leandro. Contact
directions or more information.
Although the classes include some traditional style clogging, most of the dancing is in the popular form of line dances, which are cued to the dancers. This way they can dance a large variety of dances without having to memorize the sequence. Once a few steps are learned, cloggers can do many dances to the cues.
What is Clogging?
As immigrants settled in the Appalachian Mountains, they brought with them their native dances, styles and music. Some of the dances blended and mixed with other dances to form new styles and dances. Clogging emerged from a mixture of Irish jigs, English country dances, German dances, possibly Cherokee Indian and most certainly African dances and rhythms.
Characteristic of Clogging is the rhythmic beat that the dancers' feet are continually making. It can involve fewer than ten basic movements but these combine to make quite a variety of steps. New steps and styles from other dances are often incorporated into otherwise traditional clogging steps.
Originally Clogging was only a dance performed solo. As it (and other dances) became more acceptable, clogging became a part of Appalachian Square Dancing, also known as Big Circle Dancing. Now Big Circle Dancing is done either with or without the fast footwork of clogging.
Today the most popular form of clogging dance is the line dance. There are all kinds of line dances from easy level up to advanced. A sequence of steps is choreographed to fit a particular piece of music. The step sequence is usually cued, so dancers only have to learn the terms and don't have to memorize long sequences.
Traditionally cloggers danced to bluegrass music, and often do today. However many kinds of music, from rock and pop to country western are used for clogging dances these days. One thing is always true, however, and that is the music will always be upbeat and lively.
The Diablo Mountain Cloggers sponsor classes for people to learn the basics. The first hour of the dance night is always a basic level. See here for a flier of the next class or contact our instructor, Lois Elling for more information.
Beginners learn the traditional basic
clogging movements, many combination steps and a few line and
couple dances, including some Appalachian Big Circle Dancing.
The beginner class session (about 10-12 weeks) is an
introduction to clogging steps, styles, and dances. After the
class graduates, then dancers are invited to join our club and
continue to learn more steps and dances.
Everyone is welcome at the class; all ages, singles, couples and families, however kids under 12 should be accompanied by an adult. There is no obligation the first night of class; interested dancers are welcome to come and try it out one time. Pay only if you continue. No special clothes or shoes are required, however hard-soled shoes and comfortable clothes are recommended.
The lively music and rhythm of the footwork are quite catchy and make most people want to join right in.
The Diablo Mountain Cloggers host an annual workshop called "March Madness." At this workshop, cloggers can learn some of the older clogging dances from teachers that come from California, Nevada and Oregon. The event always includes a scrumptious spread to keep the dancers fed throughout the day, raffle prizes, and general dancing and exhibitions in the evening.
More about the 2007 March Madness.
More about the 2008 March Madness.
More about the 2009 March Madness.
Pictures from the 2010 March Madness.
Pictures from the 2011 March Madness
Pictures from the 2012 March Madness
Pictures from the 2013 March Madness
Pictures from the 2014 March Madness
Exhibitions & Perfomances
The club enjoys dancing demonstrations at fairs, dinners, and other special events. Our shows include a mixture of traditional and modern, of recreational line dances and show routines, and of easy to intermediate dances. Performances can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on what is needed and the number of dancers participating. The audience can also be included in the exhibition with a quick teach of Big Circle Dancing or a few simple steps.
Members of the Diablo Mountain Cloggers have performed all over Northern California at square dance festivals, company picnics, community fairs as well as at the National Square Dance Conventions in Seattle, Washington in 1981, Anaheim, California in 1988, and Portland, Oregon in 2005. In 1976 five members were hosted by the University of Alaska for a week of workshops and performances.
You can see photographs from some past
performances here and some more recent ones at Lois'
offsite clogging galleries here.
For more information on classes or performances, contact our instructor, Lois Elling.
Special Events - listing on the NCCA website (offsite).
Recent Dances Taught - these are now listed on a Google Doc. Contact Lois for link.
Northern California Cloggers Association, Inc. (offsite)
Last updated 9/7/14