American step dancing probably has its origins in the traditions which English, Irish and Scottish settlers took with them, combined with the style and dance movements coming from Africa with the slaves. The influence of some native Indian steps made up a new dance form, variously called hoofing, flatfooting or buck dancing. This American 'tradition' survived in the relatively isolated Appalachian mountains. It was essentially a solo dance where movements and rhythms would be made up on the spot to any available (probably mostly 'Old Time') music.


At the turn of the century American square dancing was completely separate from flatfooting and from the 1920's onwards Square Dance competitions were held in Asheville, North Carolina. The Soco Gap Dancers won the competition in 1937 by freestyle flatfooting throughout their routine, then a few years later they performed for the President and friends, where the then Queen Elizabeth's remark that it was 'just like our British clog dancing' gave the dance form its new name of 'Appalachian Clogging'.

Green Grass Style:

When the Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers started doing square dances where all the performers did the same steps (sometime in the '50s) 'Precision Clogging' was born, then in the early 1970's the Green Grass Cloggers gave it a boost by adding new steps and movements.
Although this dance style flourishes in England and is generally non-competitive, Precision Clogging in America is evolving under the influence of a hierarchy of competitions. It now has its own characteristic style, with sequined costumes and increasingly intricate steps usually danced to modern (often recorded) pop music. From the Green Grass Cloggers 'Road' team (Asheville) history page:

"By the end of the 1970s, clogging groups inspired by the Green Grass Cloggers had formed in many places across the country. Overseas, the Green Grass Clogger-style was adopted by groups in Japan and in England, where today it is the predominant style of 'Appalachian' clogging."

and from the Green Grass Cloggers 'Home' team (Greenville) history page:

"Dancers in numerous countries do steps like the Earl, Eddie, Jerry, and Karen's Kick without always knowing they came from the Green Grass Cloggers, which means that, despite the opposition the early cloggers faced for being not 'folk' enough, the Green Grass steps have entered folk tradition."

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