Clog Dancing

Clog Dancing is a solo dance with it's roots firmly based in the stable lofts, fairs and inns where dancers would compete against each other in dexterity and tricks. But it calls for more, much more than fast feet. It is essentially an exhibitionists dance where the personality and character of the dancer must be transmitted to the audience, otherwise the dance becomes mechanical and spiritless.

It is the only unbroken element of the traditional dance that we own and there are many people who remember seeing Caradog Puw and Hywel Wood of Bala clogging during the 40's.

The dance grew in popularity during the 60s for many years I had great pleasure in teaching children from Colwyn Bay area to clog dance. Several had invidiual success but we also performed as a group or with myself leading and the children as a chorus. It was such a performance that won the first prize in the Llangollen Eisteddfod of 1969. LAter competition was extended to dancing duets and trios which meant that at last we could recreate on stage the true tradition where one dancer was trying to out-dance the other.

The next development happened when it became a competition for women also - it was given a theme which invited storytelling. Dawnswyr Nantgarw have led the field in this development and performances such as the "Quarrymen" and the "Cerdd Dant Trio" will stay with me for many years to come.

By now group clogging has become an integral part of our eisteddfodau and dancing tradition. The craft and technique of clog dancing is secure enough and we have many excellent dancers from the age of 7 upwards. Teachers and choreographers are now able to puch oput the boundaries of step dancing and develop it as they should in any living and breathing tradition.