Northwest Clogging Association

What is the Northwest Clogging Association?

A brief history of the founding of the NWCA by Mike McDow

The Northwest Clogging Association was formed in 1987, when clogging was just beginning to take off in the Northwest. Northern California had just formed their association (Northern California Clogging Association). Several dancers from the Northwest attended this first NCCA Convention, which caused some to begin thinking about forming a clogging association in the Northwest.

About the same time, my wife Kay Ann and I were working with one of the Country Line Dance Instructors in the Portland/Vancouver area. We were planning to sponsor a workshop in the Portland area when we were invited to take part in what was then known as the Northwest Futurity Festival. The festival was sponsored by the Northwest Futurity Association and was held at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Vancouver, WA. The clogging was just one event of many offered during the festival. 

The Northwest Futurity Association rented all of the facilities needed for the weekend. After months of making phone calls and sending out flyers, we held our first NWCA workshop in one hall and with a make shift stage. We had a good turnout from around the Northwest. We had 10 clogging instructors from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia teaching and a total of 15 instructors cueing plus 12 groups performing, which encouraged us to continue our annual clogging event. At the end of the weekend, NWCA would split the profit 60/40 with the Northwest Futurity Association (60% for the Cloggers, 40% for the Northwest Futurity Association.  

The second year, we were again invited to take part in the Northwest Futurity Festival. We expanded to a second hall, which had a permanent stage and I made our first portable clogging stage for the other hall (which is still being used at the Oregon Mid-Winter Festival).

The first four years, we operated without an elected board, with 4 or us (2 from Oregon and 2 from Washington) setting up everything. After the fourth NWCA Festival, we became an Association wit ha Constitution and an elected Board.

A brief history of clogging

Clogging is a truly American dance form that began in the Appalachian Mountains and now enjoys widespread popularity throughout the United States and around the world.

As the Appalachians were settled in the mid 1700’s by the Irish, Scottish, English and Dutch-Germans, the folk dances of each area met and began to combine in an impromptu foot-tapping style, the beginning of clog dancing as we know it today. Accompanied by rousing fiddle and bluegrass music, clogging was a means of personal expression in a land of newfound freedoms.

The word “Clog” comes from the Gaelic, and means “time”. Clogging is a dance that is done in time with the music -to the downbeat usually with the heel keeping rhythm.

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