Shag Defined

Shag Defined

Date added to ADN: Tue, April 10, 2012
Originally Published: Sun, January 01, 2012
by The AccessDance Network (About the Author)

Shag has been Austin Power's favorite word but definitely it doesn't describe the dance that has been enjoyed by many. The shag dance is a smooth, laid back and joyously upbeat dance.

The shag craze started in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where early shaggers who called themselves "jitterbugs", danced swing at beach parties that are open-air during the 1930s and 1940s. It has its roots in jitterbug and Lindy Hop Swing that became famous in the twenties. Billy Jeffers and "Chicken" Hicks are two of the main shag enthusiasts who developed the dances we now know. They helped in making the tempo of the original jitterbug slower and include sexier movements into it. Shag, just like any other social dance, experienced rise and fall in its popularity but eventually it became an established part of the Southern Culture. Now, this basic dance is considered to be the official dance of the State of South Carolina.

Shag, a dance that emphasizes smoothness and grace, is danced from the waist down. The basic step is counted as "one-and-two, three-and-four, five-and-six" (sometimes eight). This involves a simple forward-and-back motion and a change step at the end. In performing this social dance, the lower body executes most of the moving. It is mainly about footwork. The upper body remains erect, not swaying from side to side. Shag is performed with the weight on the balls of the feet and not the heels. As for the hands, the man's left hand holds his partner's right hand. The grip should never be tight but there must be a little tension to provide a secure hold. The arms and hands should not be swaying from side to side, or moving up and down. Each partner keeps one arm to him or herself in a relaxed but a bit forward position. This gives the spare hand the freedom to reach the partner in advanced steps.

The shag may be accompanied by classic "beach music" tunes. Examples of which are "I Love Beach Music", "Carolina Girls" and "Under the Boardwalk". It can also be performed with Motown and Blues. The tempo range for this dance is 110 to 135 beats per minute and the style is usually blues, written in 4/4 time. When discussing about shag, two bands stand out: the Chairmen of the Board, the band that popularized "Give Me Just A Little More Time" in 1970; and the Tams that gave the popular hit "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am" in 1962.

You don't have to be staying along the beach to enjoy this energetic dance called Shag. Wherever you are and whatever it is you do, you can definitely amuse yourself , shaking your stress away. Shag!

About the Author:
Providing information for Ballroom Dance Lessons, Activities, Dance Competitions and News of the Dance Industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

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