Excerpts 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 of the steps that the GGCs carried on from mentors and ones that originated with early group members proliferated to new clogging teams. Yet, as the 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 may learn the Walking Step without knowing that it came from Robert Dotson, or steps like Walk the Heels, Barnyard Slide, and Snake in the Grass without knowing Willard Watson was the source the GGCs knew. Aspiring cloggers may learn steps such as the Earl, Eddie, Jerry, and Karen’s Kick without knowing that they originated with identifiable sources as recently as the 1970s—the GGCs. At ASA 2018, I propose to show excerpts of my in-production film collaboration Hoppin’ Possums: Steps from the Green Grass Cloggers, which aims to reconnect the stories with the steps through interviews and demonstrations with GGCs who knew Robert Dotson and Willard Watson and GGCs who created their own steps.