Clogging Instructor, Duane Steele (left), and Vice\\u002DPresident of Square and Round Dance Association of Southern Arizona, Ron Sandefur (right), talk about the Southern Arizona Clogging Dance Festival.

Though most often associated with early American folk life, clogging and square dancing have found fans around the world.

In southern Arizona, instructor Duane Steel is helping to keep the clogging tradition alive. The dance traces its roots to Appalachia and its early Irish and Scottish settlers, but it has since spread to many other countries.

Steel says one of the reasons is that it is usually easy and enjoyable even for beginning dancers.

"It's just a lot of fun. Relaxing, you don't have any problems when you're clogging, you can't worry about anything. You get out of there refreshed and ready to go," he says.

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Photo: AZPM

Clogging instructor Duane Steele (left) and Ron Sandefur (right), vice-president of the Square and Round Dance Association of Southern Arizona, are keeping early American folk dances alive.

Ron Sandefur, vice president of the Square and Round Dance Association of Southern Arizona, says square dancing, which grew from traditional European dances but took hold strongly in Appalachia and New England, also provides beginning and advanced dancers with many benefits.

"It's a good activity, it's great exercise, you get to meet people and share information with people," Sandefur says. "It's a nice activity."

Clogging pros and fans are holding the Southern Arizona Clogging Dance Festival on January 13th and 14th.

One week later, the Tucson Area Square Dance Festival will be held January 19-22. This is the fourth annual celebration for this particular festival, but Sandefur says a version of this yearly gathering has been held in the Tucson area since 1948.