The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers is a non-profit educational organization based in Minnesota. Our mission is to promote and sustain interest in traditional Appalachian clogging by offering concerts and workshops anywhere we can find an audience. The Geese offer school programs, workshops for all ages, and performances of 15 minutes to full 1 1/2-hour concerts. The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers was established in 1979 and consist of 13 energetic dancers accompanied by the lively music of Chicken Sedan.
The Geese were delighted to have been honored with a 2009 SAGE Award along with our Steppin’ Out collaborators, the DeLaSouljah Steppers from DeLaSalle High School.
Clogging is an American style of dance that, like so many American folk styles, has its roots in the Appalachian region of the south. Clogging itself comes from three separate traditions. The type of foot movements derive from early African-American buck dancing, or flat-footing, which featured percussion created by foot movements and hand and body slapping. Plantations in North America eventually outlawed slaves from playing drums, but permitted the percussive sound of the banjo. Buck dancing usually accompanied the fiddle and banjo pairing and created even more percussion to the combination. The other components of clogging are English step dancing, and Native American dance, particularly from the Cherokee.
The earliest clogging involved only foot movements and was meant to add percussion to old-time string-band music, which rarely included a drummer. Including choreographed formations was an innovation that evolved in the 1960s. This has become so popular that, to most people, the combination of choreographies with rhythmic foot movements is what now defines clogging. While related to the country-and-western “white-shoe” clogging tradition, Appalachian clogging incorporates more traditional steps danced to old-time music.
The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers characteristically get our choreography from varied sources, including social dancing outside of the group, frequently contra or square dancing. If group members think that a certain movement would have a good appearance when done by dancers in formation, then the movement might find a home in our repertoire. What makes the bulk of our work traditional in character is the type of rhythmic accompaniment expressed by the foot movements. Occasionally, we adapt tap or Irish step dancing to the clogging style, an approach that is more daring because it requires the group to change the rhythmic aspect of the foot movements. In addition to dances in formation, the group also features special dances allowing members to improvise or dance their fanciest steps.
The membership of The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers includes seven male and six
female dancers and five musicians. Membership is on a voluntary basis and turns over at
the rate of one or two per year. The newest members have been with the group for less than one year.
The senior member has been with the group for over thirty years. We audition as openings