The History of the Shag

"Shag" has become such a way of life to so many people that it is hard to imagine a time before "Beach Music" and pink shoes.
By TripSmarter.Com | March 22, 2013


The year? 1945. The place? Ocean Drive in Myrtle Beach, SC. An old beach house has withstood the test of Hurricane Hazel and been converted into a beer joint. Teenagers pack in from one wall to the other on a hard-packed dirt floor. There is a jukebox playing Rhythm & Blues and cold beer is being passed through a hole in a nearby wall. This place was known as "The Pad!" It was slowly upgraded to have wood plank floors and low ceilings. It definitely had the makings of a good Rhythm & Blues club!
"The Pad" would become known as a fortress for "SHAG" to teens in Myrtle Beach, SC...
What is "Shag" you ask? It's a phenomenal dance craze that started in Myrtle Beach in the 40 and 50's. Local teens invented the dance step that is most suited to Rhythm & Blues music. But "Shag" is much more than a style of swing dancing, it is a way of life for people from Virginia Beach to Florida! Some may even refer to it as a "religion."
What is this dance that has gained so much attention?
It is a 6-count, basic pattern dance with East Coast Swing. There is a rearrangement of the footwork that makes it look and feel unique. All the action occurs below the waist, though instructors tend to teach a very standard basic pattern.
True seasoned "Shaggers" take pride in adopting their own versions of the dance, each being distinctive and smooth. Using the balls of their feet and small steps, "Shaggers" manage to perform this very "cool" style of dance to individual perfection!
Not only have the Carolina's been famous for "Shag," but they are also home to "Beach Music," better known as Rhythm & Blues. But as "Shag" has evolved, so has the music. Now "Shaggers" enjoy performing their magic to everything from gospel to music from the big band era (known in the Carolina's as "Smoothies.")
This Myrtle Beach "pastime" has become much larger in nature with Shag Clubs popping up everywhere. All of the clubs are members of the Association of Carolina Shag Clubs. The "Shag" has even been declared the official dance of the state of South Carolina!
Today there are major events such as the Grand Nationals in Atlanta where "Shaggers" can show their stuff and compete against the best in the country. "Shag" has even spread internationally to London, Ontario, where it is a favorite for many.
"Shag" has become such a way of life to so many people that it is hard to imagine a time before "Beach Music" and pink shoes. We definitely haven't seen the last of the heralded "Shagger" or the end of this growing phenomenon!