Clogger's Dictionary: Ripple (noun)


Today's vocabulary word is an element seen in many clogging routines: the ripple! Synonyms are not frequently used in this context, but could include a wave or a progressive movement.

Here's my official definition:

Ripple (noun): A movement performed by different dancers at different times to add visual and/or auditory interest to a routine. 

A simple example is a 4-count front row/back row ripple to fill an 8-count of music. In this ripple, there is no overlapping movement; the front row performs the move on 1-2-3-4, then freezes while the back row repeats the same move on 5-6-7-8. 

Ripples can get much more complex, with each dancer having a different count, and the ripple changing directions throughout the move (moving from the center outward, and coming back in, etc.). 

Pros of adding a ripple to your routine:

1. It can make a simple routine look more difficult or less repetitive. This is especially useful when the music repeats a phrase.

2. It can be used to fill in an 8-count if you need to remove a step for whatever reason. If a surface is too slippery to safely perform a certain step (such as a toe stand), you can make a quick substitution with a ripple and still perform that routine. 

3. Ripples can be an excellent tool to teach dancers independence in a routine, forcing them to rely on themselves and not another dancer to get the correct count.

Cons of adding a ripple to your routine:

1. When it goes wrong, it REALLY goes wrong. A ripple puts a spotlight on the dancers' timing. If mistakes are made, everybody knows it! (Missed timing can also result in someone accidentally smacking a teammate, which is usually frowned upon at practice and performance.)

2. A ripple in the routine makes it more challenging for another dancer to serve as a fill-in because there are multiple parts to learn.

3. Your team may need extra practice to get that portion of the routine up to a performance level. This is not a problem for a competition routine or something you will use for an entire season, but may not be worth it for a holiday song you throw together to perform once.

Do YOU like to use ripples in clogging routines? Got any fun stories about learning ripples?