It has been common for revival dancers to pigeonhole their clog dances into regional styles such as “Lakeland Clog” or North-East Clog.” As long ago as 1985 evidence was beginning to emerge that this was perhaps an inappropriate concept (see for example Metherell, C. “Clog Dancing: An analysis of Regional Differences”, Traditional Dance, 3: 1-16, (1985).) With the advent of readily searchable newspaper and other archives it has become apparent that it is better to consider these dance forms as two distinct lineages rather than multiple “regional” styles albeit with individual performance traits.

Sammy Bell dancing a Stage Style Hornpipe.
Musician Laurie Mulliner

Stage Style
The first, which we name the “Stage Style Clog Dance” ” may perhaps have originated in Lancashire at some time before the early 1800s. However it became extremely popular in every part of England and southern Scotland from the 1830’s onwards. the dance is characterised by the wearing of clogs, the presence of shuffling movements in most steps, some outturn of the feet, often involving foot crossing and a standardised pattern of six bars of stepping followed by a two bar finish. It is this style of stepping which has dominated clog dancing for the last 175 years and was the style danced in competitions which were a particular feature of clog dancing from about the 1870s onwards. It seems for the most part to have involved specific instruction by way of dancing master classes or individual tuition, although clearly imitation must have played apart. Next


Melanie Barber teaching Bill Gibbon’s
Vernacular Style clog steps in 1994.

Vernacular Style
The second style, which we have called “Vernacular Clog/Step Dance” was performed in either clogs or shoes depending on the prevalent footwear in the area concerned. The dance generally involved few if any shuffling movements, these being replace by toe and heel movements, little outturn and lack of standardised patterning, the dance being fitted to the music at the dancer’s whim. Whereas the Stage Style is relatively homogeneous, the Vernacular Style is much more variable between individuals. It is generally an unlearned style in the sense that the steps are acquired through observation and “immersion” rather than instruction as in the Stage Style. Next:-