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Shag Dancing

The South Carolina State Dance

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The shag is South Carolina’s state dance. Shag dancing is well known in North Myrtle Beach. The dance originated in North Myrtle Beach and has evolved into a lifestyle and a culture which reaches beyond the actual moves on the floor.

It’s a dance resembling a medium-speed jitterbug with specific patterns in rhythm with beach music. It’s all about the steps, and spectators watch the intricate foot movements. The male partner leads and typically showboats, while the female is expected to follow.

It’s not just dancing; it’s specific steps and the proper shoes too 🙂 Also, they say it takes a lot of beer to keep these weekends rockin’ !

The term S.O.S. refers to events which are planned for three specific dates during each year. These are Spring Safari in April, Mid Winters in January and Fall Migration in September. An annual July event is set for Junior S.O.S. This term refers to the Society of Stranders which is a social membership organization. Social is the operative word. The events originated in 1980, with a spring S.O.S. Events now include contests, competitions and sometimes live bands. Hundreds of dancers, usually Boomers, give or take a few years, now frequent the area during these events, most centered in North Myrtle Beach.

Where to Find Nightlife Shag Dancing

From 1955 until 1994, The Pad was the center of the shagging community. A makeshift club, created under a second floor pad where lifeguards stayed, included a dance floor on the sand and typical surroundings suitable for a few beers and some heavy music and dancing.

A few favorite clubs for shaggers now fill the dance floors any time of year in addition to the primary annual events. The traditional venues for shaggers in North Myrtle Beach are Ducks Beach Club, Fat Harold’s Beach Club and O D PavilionAlso, the Spanish Galleon is located in the Ocean Drive Beach and Golf Resort which houses the Shagger’s Hall of Fame. Some clubs are free or charge a small cover, but some require a membership card for entrance during the main events. (You can join at a street booth and don’t need to dance to be welcomed.)

O D is a local term referring to Ocean Drive which is the main beach route through North Myrtle Beach.

Shag clubs are found in many other cities throughout South Carolina as well as southeast states including Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.  Dancers can easily find a class to learn some basic moves before visiting during the serious events.

Shag: the Movie, released in 1989, was filmed in Myrtle Beach. The romantic comedy tells of four young women in pre-integration South Carolina in 1963. Stars were Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Page Hannah and Tyrone Power Jr.


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