Excerpt from Hoppin’ Possums: Steps from the Green Grass Cloggers

A group of counterculture college students formed the Green Grass Cloggers in the 1970s and incorporated percussive footwork that was a combination of steps they learned from oldtimer mentors and steps they created themselves. As they traveled on the folk festival circuit in North America in the 1970s and later internationally, they shared their innovative style through performances and workshops. As a result of those workshops, many steps that the GGCs carried on from mentors and ones that originated with early group members proliferated to new clogging teams. Yet, as steps were shared secondhand and beyond, the stories of those steps’ sources did not always follow them, and they entered the folk tradition fairly quickly. Now, despite the GGCs’ early efforts to tell the stories with the steps they taught, aspiring flatfooters and cloggers may learn footwork—like Robert Dotson’s Walking Step; Walk the Heels, Barnyard Slide, and Snake in the Grass in the style of Willard Watson; the Green Grass Cloggers’ Earl, Eddie, Jerry, and Karen’s Kick—all without knowing that they originated with identifiable sources as recently as the 1970s. Though originally formed in Eastern North Carolina, in Greenville, the traveling portion of the group moved to Asheville, NC, in the 1980s. Today, groups from both places continue to perform locally and recruit new members. At ASA 2019, I propose to show a new, Asheville-related excerpt of my in-production film collaboration Hoppin’ Possums: Steps from the Green Grass Cloggers, which aims to reconnect the steps with their stories.