Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dancing in South Carolina

Coming from the Chicago area, I had never heard of the shag. Once we relocated to North Carolina, only seven miles from the South Carolina border, I learned that the shag is a dance. Not only a dance, but the official dance of South Carolina. Some say it is also the official dance of North Carolina but that state splits the honor between clogging and the shag.

Anyone interested in learning about this dance can pick up "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Phil Sawyer and Tom Poland. The book is basically a history of this specific dance. It even tells how the name, a slang term, as those who saw Austin Powers movies know, came to be.

 The authors admit that specific times, dates and places are sketchy, but traces of the shag began around the mid 1940s, possibly in Virginia Beach, Va., and traveled down the coast to Carolina Beach, N.C. What is known is that Ocean Drive, OD or O.D. to the shagging crowd, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. has become the ultimate destination for shaggers.

Today nearly 100 shag clubs exist, dance competitions thrive and thousands of people lose themselves in the sound of beach music and steps of the shag. No wonder the subtitle to the book is “The Love Story of the Shag and the Society of Stranders.”

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