Workshops

MID-WINTER Get Your Kicks Clogging DANCE CELEBRATION

Announcing a new 2021 “Get Your Kicks Clogging” BEYOND BEGINNING Clogging/Flatfooting Workshop – Tuesdays MARCH 9TH – MARCH 30TH, 7PM EST!

My “Start your New Year off on the right foot” Get Your Kicks Clogging workshop was a huge success! Sixteen folks completed the 5 week class and have asked for a follow-up session!!!!!

Soooooo – In celebration of the Green Grass Cloggers’ 50th Anniversary, I am offering a 4-week intermediate clogging/flatfooting GYKC Zoom dance workshop. It takes place on Tuesday nights at 7pm on March 9th – 30th. All of my on-line workshops are “Pay As You Exit” – no money is due up front – join in the workshop and if you feel that you have learned anything of value, then pay at the end. Suggested donation is – $10/class. This workshop is geared for those dancers who have taken my beginning workshops, but anyone with percussive dance experience of any style is welcome to join. For flatfooting – smooth bottomed, low-heeled oxfordtype laced-up shoes are recommended – leather soles are best! Since we are on-line –you may were taps if you desire.

These classes will allow you to add more intricate GGC steps to your repertoire. In addition you will learn other types of steps that are more specific to flatfooting with an emphasis on learning the 4 sounds of the Robert Dotson Walking Step. The goal of this workshop is to free you up from the confines of dancing precision clogging steps to being able to improvise in the more traditional freestyle flatfoot dancing.

Here is the link to this Zoom class –
Join URL: https://etsu.zoom.us/j/93188584896?pwd=ZXhHVDZPdFpKeTJjUHF2NU9oUWM3Zz09
Please email me at – rcsutton69@gmail.com – if you plan on joining this class or you need more information.

I am still working to improve teaching on-line “live” Zoom dance classes. In particular, the delay between the video and audio is still in need of improvement. For this class I will add an extra camera that will focus up close shots of my feet in addition to the full body shots of me while I teach.

In preparation for this class I encourage you to have comfortable low-heel, solid bottom shoes(leather soles are best). Having a solid surface to dance on is necessary, wood is preferred. A piece of plywood (3ft x 3ft) on carpet will also work.

I also suggest you watch the videos listed below of the Green Grass Cloggers and those of the old-time flatfoot dancers, such as my mentors Robert Dotson and Willard Watson. The Green Grass Cloggers are celebrating our 50th Anniversary in 2021!

Donations can be made through PayPal.

GYKC GGC Steps Handout

Video Links

I promised to add links to a couple of websites where you can view dozens of old-time flat/foot, buck, and clog dancers.

This is the oldest video of old-time flatfooting/buckdancing that I have found –  This silent film was recorded for Elizabeth Burchenal, the noted folk dance leader and researcher. It was on a reel of film labeled “Square Dancing in Southern Mountains 1919-1931” that also includes footage of southern Appalachian square dances.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybOn2kkAP5g&lc=UgxJXsf6_mPNeykwHiZ4AaABAg.8jFAfLTsXBG9BVmnJmFKFx&feature=em-comments&fbclid=IwAR2HBcLn77And2rnTPeEXaQAnxfqy8-SZJHQIe6yoUV35Qn2HUI1soHI43o

This video has old footage of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the dancer is not identified.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqwsar3fStU

More video of Bascom filmed by David Hoffman, 1965. This is some of my favorite flatfooting/buckdancing – Bill McElreath – “knocking out a tune” as Bascom called it. Both Bascom and his friend Freda also dance.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2WywwxWbvY&t=18s

This video will be moved to a new page with other videos listed below. This is some of the only footage of Willard Watson with audio. He and zydeco musician Bois Sec Ardoin are flatfooting to the fiddling of Clark Kessinger with Gene Meade on guitar! Willard will not face the camera – thinking it would be impolite to turn his back on the music! When Willard is dancing to “Chicken Reel” he does all of his barn-yard steps! This was filmed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival at a huge mansion that was used to house the performers. Willard Watson at 1965 Newport Folk Festival

These are two more recent short videos of my mentor and one of my best friends ever – Robert Dotson – the source of the “Walking Step”!
Floating Dancer: The Story of Robert Dotson, the Walking Step & the Green Grass Cloggers    By Leanne E. Smith and M. Chad Smith
In Memory of Robert Dotson   By Rebecca Branson Jones

Here’s one that is a documentary by Mike Seeger and Ruth Pershing called “Talking Feet” filmed in 1983. I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in this historical film!  Talking Feet

Here is the link to Phil Jamison’s website – he videoed dozens of traditional percussive mountain dancers in 1993.  WNC Buckdancers, Flatfooters, and Charleston Dancers (1993)

Here are two links to the Green Grass Cloggers –

Website – http://www.greengrasscloggers.com/

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/GreenGrassCloggers/

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Rodney leading a workshop at Clifftop
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Rodney leading a workshop at Clifftop
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Rodney leading a workshop at Clifftop

Stepping Up to the Challenge

Stepping Up to the Challenge is a sneaky title of a workshop in percussive dance that Rodney designed as a way to not scare off folks who think they cannot dance. He has more than 40 years of experience teaching beginners how to clog, and he can teach anyone who can walk how to dance.

In 2005, Rodney was a member of an arts advisory group—consisting of professional actors, storytellers, musicians and dancers—who were tasked with finding ways to integrate traditional art forms into the curriculum of multi-day corporate team-building retreats. The initial concept was intended to place people from different levels of corporate management in a new environment—not an office or boardroom, and not another outdoor ropes course—so they could all experience trying something new for the first time together.

Rodney has continued to use his Stepping Up to the Challenge workshop to share his love of teaching traditional percussive dance, specifically Appalachian clogging and flatfooting, with professional development and team-building gatherings.

In these hour-long sessions, he is able to break down and teach a basic clogging step using recorded traditional music. No partner is needed, and he uses a very low impact approach that anyone can learn. The workshop allows participants to use their feet to become a drummer to any type of music. Though the emphasis is on teaching clogging to individuals—so that, as he says, “You only have to worry about stepping on your own toes”—he also demonstrates how dancing traditional square dance figures create ways of cooperation and trust between participants.

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Rodney leading a workshop at Clifftop