South Carolina State Dance - The Shag

by petunia

The state dance of South Carolina is the shag. Originating at the beach in the 1940's, everybody in SC shags, from the little ones to grandparents! Come join us!

Shaggin' on the Beach in South Carolina

Dancin' Barefoot on the Beach is great fun!

The shag started at the beach in the 1930's and 1940's.   In 1984, South Carolina named the shag as the official state dance.     A slowed down jitterbug, the shag is danced to upbeat music we call "beach music".   We even have a State Shaggers Hall of Fame for the very best of the best!

In South Carolina, almost everybody dances the shag.  I hope you will watch at least one of the videos on this page.  You will notice that people of all ages dance the shag.  There are the celebrated experts, of course.  But the rest of us just dance the shag and have a good time!  I heard someone say "nobody watches you if you are not any good at it, so don't worry about it - just have fun."  And that is great advice.

Just this past week at a wedding reception, a gentleman told me "you don't look self-concious out there at all."   Of course not!   I don't dance to entertain anybody but myself!   :)  We were dancing in the living room, kitchen and hallway from the time I was 9 years old.   In the late 50's and early 1960's, we sisters danced with each other and with our mom.  And sometimes we danced with a doorknob on a swinging door.  We learned the steps and we danced for fun!  The object was never to "do it right" although as teens we certainly wanted to "look good on the dance floor".   We danced in the Episcopal Church parrish house and we danced in the Presbyterian Church activity room.  We danced in the scout hut and we danced in the high school gym.  We danced in our friends' homes and we danced in their garages.   Our teen years were filled with dancing the shag to that fabulous 1950 and 1960 music.  

We danced to the music of Fats Domino, The Drifters, The Platters, The Showman, Bruce Chanel, Jackie Wilson, Chairman of the Board, and all the super stars of beach music.   There has been no music like it since those days!

A few years ago when our daughter and son-in-law were married, our daughter danced with her dad as most brides do.  But they danced to Miss Grace and they shagged!   I hope our grandchildren will carry on that tradition.

This page is an introduction to the shag.  Watch the competitive young folks in the junior championships.  Watch the dancers at our favorite spot in Murrells inlet.  

You have not learned about the shag until you have watched at least one of these videos.

Want to learn the shag before your visit to South Carolina?  There are videos that will teach you.  We look forward to your visit.  Come dance on the beach with us.  We'd love to see you!

Want to see how the real old-timers dance?  Visit The Blue Marlin at Garden City Beach!   You will see them dancing with their walking canes!  Old shaggers never quit -- no matter how old we get!



Shaggin' at Creek Ratz

One of our favorite places to dance - Murrells Inlet SC

Junior Shag Champions

These youngsters are fun to watch!

S is for shag - Our State Dance

Quick lesson in the basic step

Can you dance the SC Shag?

Would you like to learn?

Important SC Shag Links

The SOS Site
Dates for SOS, where to stay, officers, everything you want to know about SOS

Shag Preservation Association

Tilghman Resort
Beautiful condos on the beach - one of the official sponsors of SOS

Updated: 07/05/2011, petunia
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ROBERT SMALL on 07/22/2011


petunia on 07/20/2011

Caroline, come to SC and I will teach you!

ohcaroline on 07/20/2011

The videos are really neat. Too bad that I can't dance. And I mean that...I have yet to be able to master any dance steps. I'll bet you are good at it though with all your practice.

Ping on 07/11/2011

I've never seen this dance before, but it's amazing!

kajohu on 07/10/2011

I really hadn't heard of the Shag before, but I enjoyed watching the videos. It would be fun to try!

petunia on 07/07/2011

lol tssfacts. I would say the majority of shaggers do not look like the video! I know we don't. I love watching the experts. But when we dance, we "do it our way"!

ajgodinho on 07/06/2011

Awesome dance ~ I've never heard of this dance before, but love it from the video (junior shag competition) above...pretty cool! :)

dustytoes on 07/06/2011

Great videos. I love to watch dancing of any kind. I have 2 left feet...!

Treasures By Brenda on 07/05/2011

I've only heard of this dance from you, Joan although it is familiar when I see the video.

petunia on 07/05/2011

gotta seriously think about words for the disclaimer! it could just make things worse if I am not really really careful here! lol lol

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