The Shag dance is an 8-count swing dance that originated in the early 20th century in the Carolinas, most likely in South Carolina. It is a fast-paced, highly stylized, and smooth dance that can be danced to swing music such as jive, big band, rockabilly, blues, and modern swing music. It is a widely popular dance today, and it is often seen at social functions and dance halls.
Characteristics of Shag Dance
The Shag is characterized by its smooth and rhythmic movements and its eight-count pattern. It is a partner dance, which means it requires two people to dance it. The leader moves first and the follower follows, but because it is such a highly stylized dance, it can be quite challenging for a beginner. The leader usually leads the dance with his or her feet, while the follower follows the leader’s lead. The Shag is often danced with a “rock step,” which is a step-step-triple-step move.
In addition to its popular presence in social events, the Shag is also a popular competitive dance. Competitions are often judged on the performance of the couple, the technique, and the quality of the movement.
Costume of Shag Dancers
Shag dancers often wear comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement. They generally choose clothing that is not too tight or restrictive. Women often wear shorts and skirts, while men may go for dress pants or shorts. Loose-fitting T-shirts and tank tops are also commonly worn. Shoes should be flexible and lightweight, with either a smooth or suede sole. Many dancers prefer tennis shoes, while some choose to wear leather shoes. Accessories, such as hats and jewellery, are not typically worn while dancing.
Music used in Shag Dance
The music used in shag dance is usually fast-paced swing music, such as Charleston, jive, boogie-woogie, and ragtime. Music from the Big Band era was also popular, such as Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington. More contemporary artists such as Brian Setzer, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are also popular.
The Shag is a great dance for anyone who loves to dance and is looking for a fun and energetic way to express themselves. Whether it’s for a night out on the town or a competitive event, the Shag is sure to be a hit!
Check out this Dance Video for Shag Dance