Rodney will be teaching workshops this at various festivals and dance camps this spring and summer.
Thursday, March 24th – “An Introduction to Appalachian Flatfoot and Percussive Dance”
Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, Blowing Rock, NC
The Global Roots of Appalachian Mountain Dance Symposium
Rodney and the Green Grass Cloggers will be participating in a number of workshops and performances at GRAMDS. All events are FREE to the Public.
Friday, April 1, 2022 10am “Beginning Flatfoot”, Linville Falls Room, Plemmons Student Union ASU, Boone, NC – part of the The Global Roots of Appalachian Mountain Dance Symposium
Friday, April 1, 2022, 7-9pm, With the Green Grass Cloggers – Performance: Dancing through Our Mountains: The Global Roots and Contemporary Traditions of Appalachian Dance, I.G. Greer Auditorium, featuring live music and dancing by Tommy DeFrantz, Allison Duvall, Phil Jamison, Sherone Price, Aaron Ratcliffe, Raven Rock Dancers, Green Grass Cloggers, and more
Saturday, April 2, 2022, 3-4pm Green Grass Cloggers 50 Years lecture/demo
Parkway Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union ASU
Video Links – helpful for any current or future percussive dancers!
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.
This video has old footage of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the dancer is not identified.
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.
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/
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.