Clogging while he calls

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2001

As this year's guest caller at the Alaska Folk Festival, Woody Lane brings a background in percussive dance to the floor.

For people uninitiated to the fun of folk dance, neither experience nor a partner is necessary. The music is live and the caller tells people where to go.

"It's just a lot of fun and is taught on the fly so people who don't know how can learn as they do them," Lane said.

Some of the dances are older and traditional. Others might have been written in the past 10 to 15 years, he said. They are community dances: squares and contras, circle dances and southern running sets.

"This is a very vibrant, live type of activity," he said.

Lane lives in Roseburg, Ore., and became interested in clogging when he was living in West Virginia. He has been calling for more than 15 years and travels all over the country and in Canada. He has been a member of precision clogging troops in New York and Wisconsin.

Folk dances are becoming more popular, although Lane hesitates to call the trend a revival.

"More and more communities are having regular dances," he said. "There's a strong sense of movement and community in these dances."

Alaska Folk Festival board member Rex Blazer said Lane often clogs while he's calling.

"He's a good teacher, enthusiastic and has a lot of experience," Blazer said.

Lane will be calling dances Thursday and Saturday and will be leading workshops in calling, squares, contras, flatfooting and progressive dance Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

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