Mike said, “Step clogging is always executed in the hard wearing, wooden soled footwear that was once the everyday wear of the industrial and agricultural classes; the steps developed as a response to the percussive sounds that were heard every day in their working lives.
“During the late 19th century, the steps and sounds were integrated into the acts of many performers on the music hall stages – Dan Leno being a particularly well-known perpetrator – and were combined with acrobatics to present a dazzling show of simultaneous flamboyance and precision.”
Cobblers Awl dance clog steps in styles that have developed in Wales and in northern England, and these styles have developed from very different backgrounds. In Wales, clogging comes from rural communities, where dancers, universally male, would perform in farmhouse kitchen parties and village bars.
Mike explains, “Men would take turns to step to the fiddle tunes, each trying to gain a march on the competition by introducing more intricate beats and impressive leaps and acrobatic stunts.
“In the north-east of England – notably Durham and Northumberland, and in Lancashire and north Cheshire, the steps developed in a much more industrial environment.
“They were said to be danced in time to the steady beat of the weaving and spinning machinery that workers carried in their heads fromlong hours in the cotton mills and weaving sheds.”
Cobblers Awl practice on Monday nights from 7.45pm at The Owain Glyndwr, St John’s Street, Cardiff. The side tend to take a week off around Christmas and Easter holidays, and usually take a break from practice during August, so please contact the side before coming to your first session.