APPALACHIAN BIG CIRCLE CLOG

American

 
PRONUNCIATION: a-pe-LAY-chen BIGH ser-kl clawg
 
TRANSLATION: Clog-type circle dance from Appalachia
 
SOURCE: Dick Oakes learned this dance from Jerry Duke who researched it in the Cumberland Mountain and Appalachian Mountain regions. Among the other teachers and researchers of clog dancing are Glenn Bannerman, Jeff O'Connor, Katina Shields, and Bonnie "B.J." Thomas.
 
BACKGROUND: Appalachian clogging evolved when English and Irish immigrants to the United States brought with them their step dancing, which became influenced by the music and rhythms of native American Indian and African dancers. Similarly, the Old Time style of music developed when the Celtic fiddle of the settlers was combined with the guitar, mandolin, and banjo to gain a distinctive flavor of its own. The people of Appalachia were not concerned with standardizing the steps they danced. They danced to enjoy themselves and as a break from daily hardships. Old-time cloggers took pride in the distinct steps that varied from hillside to hillside, from region to region. According to Mr. Duke, West Virginia was one of the last places to retain those differences.

There are additional calls that are not described here, such as "Wagon Wheel," Ladies In," "Gents In," "Shoofly Swing," and "Shoulder Clog."

MUSIC:AMAN (7" EP) AMAN-1003;"
Folkraft (LP) LP 36;"
Black Mountain (45rpm) 45-4552, ;
Black Mountain (45rpm) 45-4555
 
FORMATION:Eight or more cls in a cir, hands joined, elbows bent, in a wide "W" pos.
 
METER/RHYTHM: 2/4
 
STEPS/STYLE: BASIC CLOG: Brush relaxed R toe fwd (ct & of previous meas); allow toe to come back, still in front (ct uh after ct & of prev meas); step R fwd (ct 1), brush relaxed L toe fwd (ct &); allow toe to come back, still in front (ct uh); step fwd L (ct 2).

VARIATION CLOG: Brush relaxed R toe fwd (ct & of previous meas); allow toe to come back, still in front (ct uh after ct & of prev meas); step R fwd (ct 1), keeping L in back of R, step on ball of L (ct &); step R (ct 2).

MIXED CLOG: Dance action of Basic Clog (meas 1); dance action of Variation Clog (meas 2).

BUZZ: Step R across in front of L (ct 1); step L swd (ct 2).

Clog steps are danced as flat-footed as possible and at the discretion of the individual dancer. The feeling should be that of "chugging" fwd and into the ground. While the clog style is important, the clogging steps should not interfere with the the figures (better to walk than to mess up the figures!). When hands are not joined, they swing freely at the sides. The body has a "loose" feeling in its movements.

The dance is vocally cued by one of the dancers who is the caller and usually the leader. Cues are called in any order, although usually the dance starts with Cir L, followed by Cir R.


MEASMOVEMENT DESCRIPTION

 
 INTRODUCTION
 
 None. Dance begins after caller cues everyone to dance.
 
 CALLS AND FIGURES
 
I. CIRCLE LEFT
 
 With hands joined in wide "W" pos, walk or clog CW in RLOD.
 
II. CIRCLE RIGHT
 
 With hands joined in wide "W" pos, walk or clog CCW in LOD.
 
III. CENTER IN
 
 Dancers move twd ctr of cir and back out.
 
IV. PROMENADE
 
 Cpls take Varsouvianna dance pos (W in front and to R of M, L hands joined low, R hands joined high) and dance CCW around floor in LOD.
 
V. WRING OUT THE DISHRAG
 
 From a Varsouvienne dance pos, dancers raise hands and W moves around ptr in six steps, 2 per meas (meas 1-3); W turns CCW under arms to face orig dir (meas 4). Repeat action of meas 1-4.
 
VI. GENT DOWN, LADY AROUND
 
 From a Varsouvienne dance pos, M drop onto R knee, transferring ptrs L hand to his R and W moves CCW around M (meas 1-3); M rises to orig pos as W completes her CCW turn and ptrs rejoin hands in Varsouvienna pos (meas 4).
 
VII. QUEEN'S HIGHWAY
 
 Releasing hand hold, M continue in orig dir, while lead W turns and moves back along the cir, followed in turn by the other W as the W in front has turned back and passes her. As ptrs meet, they join hands in Varsouvienne pos.
 
VIII. KING'S HIGHWAY
 
 Releasing hand hold, W continue in LOD, while lead M passes in back of ptr to the outside of the cir and moves back along the cir, followed in turn by the other M as the M in front has turned back and passes him. As ptrs meet, they join hands in Varsouvienne pos.
 
IX. LONDON BRIDGE
 
 Lead cpl forms an arch by turning back and joining inside hands as the next cpl ducks under arch. After ducking under an arch, the ducking cpl makes an arch for the following cpl. At the end of the cir of dancers, the lead cpl ducks under the arch and follows last cpl to promenade out of tunnel to reform the cir.
 
X. CALIFORNIA FRUIT BASKET
 
 Releasing hand hold, W spin to pass in back of ptr twd ctr, join hands with other W, and move CCW to L, while M continue moving fwd (meas 1-8); both lines reverse dir (meas 9-15); W raise their hands high, M duck under, and W bring hands down in back of M (meas 16); dance 7 Buzz steps to L in RLOD (meas 17-23); release basket pos and back out ctr to join hands in big cir (meas 24).
 
XI. SINGLE FILE
 
 NOTE: This Fig us usueally danced only when moving CCW to R in LOD. It is often called before Ocean Wave.

From a promenade in Varsouvienne pos, ptrs release hand hold, W moves in front of M, and dancers continue in LOD.

 
XII. OCEAN WAVE
 
 W turns to face M and ptrs join R hands, then pass ptr in 2 meas and next dancer in 2 meas. As dancers take hands with third person, retain hand holds and dance 2 clog steps fwd (M twd ctr of cir, W twd outside of cir) and 2 clog steps bwd. Continue two hands (R, L), then in and out again. When dancers reach ptr, resume Varsouvienne dance pos and dance in LOD.

Copyright © 2012 by Dick Oakes