NEW Workshop – Late Fall of 2020
Pandemic Get Your Kicks Clogging(GYKC )Beginning Clogging/Flatfooting Workshop
I hope this finds all of you safe and well. I know that many of us are in the midst of figuring out how to facilitate personal growth as Americans to become allies, and eventually accomplices for anti-racist work. Though these are important times for our country and it citizens to focus on racial equality and justice, I feel that we also need to continue with parts of our lives that have brought this community together – our love for music and dance.
That said, I will be offering a new 5 week series of Beginning “GYKC” classes for the late fall of 2020! These Zoom workshops begin on Tuesday, October 27th and will run for five weeks thru November 24th.
Participants will need no prior percussive step dance experience. This class will be directed to complete beginners! I will be teaching in the Green Grass Clogger precision style. We will explore the importance of keeping time to the old-time fiddle music that we will use in this class. You will learn how to communicate with your feet so you can work on becoming a free-style percussive dancer in the old-time flatfoot style, but we will use the Green Grass Clogger basic step to lay down a solid foundation to build from. I have taught thousands of folks how to clog and flatfoot dance over the past 49 years. I really feel like I can teach anyone who attends my classes with an open mind and the ability to walk how to dance! You will learn at least 5 of the Green Grass Cloggers most famous steps and be able to dance them up tempo. You will be able to dance these steps to any kind of music in 4/4 timing and become your foot drummer!
After the success of my first on-line beginner workshops in the spring of 2020 – over 25 participants from 9 different states – I am again offering this class as a “Pay as You Exit” workshop. It will not cost you anything to attend – but if you enjoy it and feel you are learning something of value – then I will have a “Tip Jar” for those who care to contribute. Suggested donation is specially priced for this on-line class – $50 for the series. Please know you are welcome – whether or not you have the resources to donate. This class is open to everyone from teens to seniors of all ages!
A link for this Zoom workshop will be posted one week before the class starts – October 20th.
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 will be celebrating our 50th Anniversary in 2021!
Donations can be made through PayPal.
I promised to add links to a couple of websites where you can view dozens of old-time flat/foot, buck, and clog dancers.
The first two I am listing are 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 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.