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Styles of Clog Dancing

The Ellwoods - Johnson Ellwood (centre), Mary Ellwood (right), Angela Ellwood (left)<p>
The Ellwoods - Johnson Ellwood (centre), Mary Ellwood (right), Angela Ellwood (left)

In and around Tyneside, two families have dominated clog dancing for many years. The Ellwoods and the Farrells. Most traditional dancers on Tyneside can trace their steps back to either Jimmy Ellwood or Dickie Farrell, both of whom were in their dancing prime at the turn of the twentieth century. Here are some of the names you may hear of, divided by descent from these two.

Jimmy Ellwood: Johnson Ellwood (son), Mary Jamieson (grandaughter), Hyltom Pomeroy, Doris Hawkes, Brenda Walker, Sam Bell

Dickie Farrell: Tiny Allison, Jackie Toaduff, Ivy Sands

The Ellwoods
The Ellwood family's steps are perhaps the most commonly seen 'North East' steps. There are certainly a large number to choose from ... The Ellwoods have always favoured a 'competition' style in which the dancer's upright posture and ability to dance on the spot are all important.

Sam Bell learnt to dance from Jimmy Ellwood and had two routines, one in hornpipe time and a set of particularly fine waltz steps which have become rather popular in recent years.

The Farrells
Dickie Farrell's daughter Lily has taught a few of his steps and a larger repertoire has been collected from Kit Haggerty who died in 1982. Mrs Ivy Sands has been a major source of information on the Farrell steps and has taught a 'single hornpipe' (6 steps), and 'double hornpipe' (8 steps) and about a dozen exhibition steps.
Tiny Allison after winning the Hexham Championship in 1940<p>
Tiny Allison after winning the Hexham Championship in 1940

Tiny Allison, a dancing teacher from Stanley, Co. Durham, taught many local dancers until her untimely death in 1982. Pre-eminent among these was Jackie Toaduff, who later performed professionally. On this clip we see Jackie Toaduff performing at the Albert Hall in 1956.

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For further reading on stepping click the link to the right to download our article.

Photographs reproduced by kind permission of the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum; Text reproduced by kind permission of Chris Metherell.



Styles of Clog Dancing
Styles of Clog Dancing
In and around Tyneside ...

Alex Woodcock
Alex Woodcock
Accomplished dancer and clog teacher ...

Ivy Sands
Ivy Sands
Her famous double hornpipe!

Clog dance
Clog dance
An introduction to the tradition ...

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