South Carolina Shag – Dancing Clubs, Festivals, and Venues
South Carolina SC Entertainment, Arts SC Shag Dancing
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The Carolina Shag was designated the official state dance of South Carolina in 1984, but for more than a half-century, it has been synonymous with warm sand, cold beer, and beach music. A form of Southern swing, it's said to have begun along the Grand Strand as early as the 1920's. The Shag's smooth rhythm has been described as "the jitterbug on Quaaludes" 1 – indeed, the gliding steps may have begun as an adaptation to avoid kicking up sand. (Some also say limiting upper body movement helped prevent spilled drinks!)
The Shag may have originated in part at Charlie's Place, a black nightclub in Myrtle Beach owned by Charlie Fitzgerald. Charlie's Place was located in an African-American section of town called The Hill, and despite segregation laws and customs, white and black dancers alike packed the club each night to dance to the music they loved.
As Beach Shagger's Hall of Famer Harry Driver explains, "We were totally integrated because the blacks and whites had nothing in our minds that made us think we were different. We loved music, we loved dancing, and that was the common bond between us." 2
Before World War II, the Shag was danced to what was then referred to as race music and is now known as rhythm and blues. (Beach music was a later off-shoot of R&B.) Considered illicit, the music was uncommon on radio stations. Many white teenagers flocked to black nightclubs and "juke joints" where it was a staple. The intermingling of blacks and whites, especially in the form of a somewhat suggestive dance, flew in the face of Jim Crow and occasionally met with severe consequences.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, shag or shagging can refer to an act of sexual intercourse. At The Pad, once a hotbed of Shag culture, townsfolk insisted that latticework be constructed over the lower part of the building to prevent anyone from inadvertently seeing the risque moves within. 3
Over the years, the Shag has become a South Carolina institution with a devoted following. Numerous organizations have developed to support and promote the dance that has embedded itself in our culture. Below you'll find videos, a directory of Shag festivals and events, SC Shag organizations and venues, info on classic Shag bands, and much more. Enjoy!
SC Shag Dancing Festivals, Events
SC Shag Organizations
SC Shag Venues
SC Shagging Images, Videos
SC Classic Shag Music, Bands
SC Shag Radio Programs, Stations
SC Shag Movies
Articles about SC Shag
History of Shag
There are many articles on the Internet that claim to present the history of the Shag. The Shag does not have a clear timeline, and there are many possible theories for exactly how it came to be and who created it. There is even some confusion about where it started, though it is generally believed to have begun on or near the beaches of the Grand Strand and Lower Cape Fear. Like many art forms, the Shag probably evolved over a period of years. The articles below have accurate, honest descriptions of the dance's history.
Learn How To Shag
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