Clogging vs Tap: What is the Difference

December 5, 2018

The main difference in the two is the type of tap you have on your shoe. In clogging you wear what is called a jingle tap which is a flat tap plate completely attached to the front bottom of your shoe and then an additional tap is attached, usually by two screws, one on either side of the flat plate, which allows the top tap to hang freely and make the jingle sound. In tap,tap shoes are just that one flat tap plate completely attached to the shoe. People say when you tap you have more control of your feet, but that is not always true.Clogging shoes have one wiggly tap hanging out on the bottom of the shoe while tap has the very controlled sound of one fully attached tap.If you appreciate music and dance the way I do and the way I used to instill it in my students then your style of music doesn't much have anything to do with whether or not you are clogging or tapping. Traditional form clogging is always done in pairs with bluegrass music (a lot of

banjo!) Traditional Clogging is very structured with the partnering, but not as much with the steps. Contemporary Clogging is more similar to tap. Clogging is very heavy on your feet (damaging to your knees!), and it is very high step. Your knees should either be level with your hips or higher. Clogging as we know it today is a traditional type of percussive folk dance which is associated with a number of different regions across the world.Originally, it was not always called "clogging", being known variously as flat-footing, foot-stomping, buck dancing, jigging, or other local terms. With Clogging you emphasize the downbeat of the music by enthusiastic footwork.

Tap dancers make frequent use of syncopation. Choreographies typically start on the eighth beat, or between the eighth and the first count. Another aspect of tap dancing is improvisation. This can either be done with music and follow the beats provided or without musical accompaniment, otherwise known as a Capella dancing. Hoofers are tap dancers who dance only with their legs, making a louder, more grounded sound. This kind of tap dancing, also called "rhythm tap", is typically found in cities or poor areas, but this is not always the case especially with such a wide [variety] of styles spreading throughout the world. Steve Condos rose out of his humble beginings in Pittsburgh, PA to become a master in rhythmic tap. His innovative style influenced the work of Gregory Hines, Savion Glover and Marshall Davis, Jr. The majority of hoofers, such as Sammy Davis Jr., Savion Glover, and Gregory Hines, are black dancers. Dancers like Fred Astaire provided a more ballroom look to tap dancing, while Gene Kelly used his extensive ballet training to make tap dancing incorporate all the parts of the ballet. Common tap steps include the shuffle, flap,cramproll, buffalo, Maxie Ford, time steps, pullbacks, and wings. Cloggers perform with an up-and-down body motion and tend to make the most sounds with their heels. Cloggers are more flatfooted while tap dancers tend to stay light on their feet. When you tap dance you dance to the melodies of the music when you clog you dance to the beats of the music. Cloggers often dance in groups, usually in a line formation, with each dancer doing the same steps at the same time.Tappers are generally solo dancers and their dance form is more intricate than clogging. Tappers have a metal tap on the bottom of their shoes; old clogging shoes did not have taps at all; some were made of velvet and leather with wooden or hardened leather soles. Cloggers, or clog dancers, may dressed quite differently from tap dancers. Most Cloggers wear what's known as a “buck tap,” which is a metal piece that comes over the front of the toe for a metallic sound during toe tips. When a person buck taps they put their weight on the balls of their feet more like tap dancers. According to some dance experts, buck dancing is an offspring of clogging that seems to bring the two styles of dance together.

Tapping and clogging are both forms of dance with roots in Europe. They were conveyed into America between the 1700s and 1800s as settlers from Scotland, England and Ireland came over. Tap evolved in New York City during the mid-1800s, as dancers blended African rhythms and steps with those in Irish and British dances. Clogging took a different turn. It stayed closer to its roots as a rural art form that stayed in the Appalachian Mountains. 

Clogging wasn't always referred to by the word "clogging," so you may know it by another term. Clogging has been called by many names like clog dancing, foot-stomping, buck dancing, and jigging.


Fun fact: Clogging is the official state dance of Kentucky and North Carolina.


Clogging vs Tap

• Both clogging and tap use the soles and heels of shoes to create sounds by hitting them on the dance floor, but there are differences in the styles.

• Dancers in tap do not force feet strongly on dance floors as the dancers in clogging do.

• Tap dancing can be performed solo too, whereas clogging is done mainly in groups.

• Clog dance has its roots in Appalachian Mountains. It was brought to America by settlers from Ireland, Scotland, England in the 18th century.

• There is a lot of up and down motion of the body in clogging.

• Clogging is much more dependent upon sounds made by clicking of heels on the dance floors than tap dancing.




















No matter the difference Clogging and tap are both fun,energetic and crowd pleasing for years to come. So come and try out this style of dance and see what is all the hypes is about, just don't take my word for it. Clogging is Ice Cool.






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