Learn Carolina Shag

The Carolina Shag is a form of southern swing dancing that originated along the Grand Strand in the 1920s and gained massive popularity in the 40s and 50s. If you are familiar with the Shag, it will conjure up images of beach clubs, like the historic Pad in North Myrtle Beach, where excited teenagers would gather on a wooden dance floor to join in on the craze. Beach music would be playing on the jukebox, and a boy would lead a girl in a smooth, 6-count step, danced in a slot; triple step, triple step, rock step — with some room for improvisation. Many believe the gliding steps and limited upper body movement were created to avoid kicking up sand from the beach, while others say it was to avoid spilling their cool beers on a warm summer night.

Today the Shag is a vital part of South Carolina’s history with a devoted following, and was named the official dance of the state. You may even remember the movie Shag from the late 1980s, starring Phoebe Cates and Bridgette Fonda. Inspired by the dance, the film takes place in 1963, where a group of girlfriends travel to Myrtle Beach for a wild weekend before one of them gets married and the others leave for college. With Shag Festivals and events in the Myrtle Beach Area, SC Shag organizations, and great Shag venues in North Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand is the place to be if you love Shag dancing or just want to join in on the fun. Swing on down to North Myrtle Beach and learn how to Carolina Shag this spring!

Spring Carolina Shag Events

This week, The Spanish Galleon on Ocean Boulevard, North Myrtle Beach, is hosting the 32nd Annual National Shag Dance Championship Finals. The NSDC started in Myrtle Beach in 1984 and is the longest continuously running shag dance contest in the United States. If you happen to be in the area this weekend and want to experience the excitement of a first-class Shag dancing competition, the event starts at 8PM on March 12, and 7:30PM on March 13 and March 14.

From April 17 – 26, Shag lovers from all over the U.S. head to North Myrtle Beach for the SOS (Society of Stranders) Spring Safari. After being cooped up all winter, the ten-day party for adults features popular bands, and Shag dance instructors offering mass classes for beginners and those looking to boost their skills and learn some new moves. At night, party animals join together to do the Carolina Shag in the local clubs. On the last Saturday of the event, the crowds gather on Main Street for the ACSC (Association of Carolina Shag Clubs) parade, a favorite for visitors and locals alike.

Some Shag Venues To Visit


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