Monday, March 5, 2012

Dance: Carolina Shag

found here

No, not that kind of Shaggin!


The 'Carolina Shag' dance originated in the 1930's on the shores of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and is now the state dance of South Carolina.

The 'Carolina Shag' is a six-count partner dance done mostly to moderate tempo music. During the dance the upper body and hips hardly move as the legs do kicks and fancy footwork. The lead is the center of attention, and the partners steps either mirror the lead's or mark time while the lead shows off with spins etc. 

A great example of the Carolina Shag...

 I was lucky enough to visit Myrtle Beach, South Carolina during my time
as an exchange student in South Carolina during high school. 
Family friends of my host family patiently tried to teach me the Carolina Shag, but even their collective years of experience were lost on my embarassing effort.
It really is alot harder than it looks!


The Pavilion, the heart of Myrtle Beach and the home of The Shag, stood grand on Ocean Boulevard and backed directly onto the beachfront. The dance hall packed in crowds for dancing and concerts. In addition to beach music bands, the Pavilion was also host to Jerry Lee Lewis, The Temptations, Journey and more in it's day.

found here

The original Pavilion built early 1900's, burnt to the ground in 1920. 
It was rebuilt three years later then expanded into a double storey building in 1927. 
And it was here in this building, that people came to be part of a dance that would evolve into The Shag. 

When fire claimed this building in 1944, plans were made to build something sturdier. The new structure, which was to become the beloved Pavilion (pictured in postcards above & below) was a reinforced concrete building built to withstand anything. And it did being one of the only buildings on the beachfront to still be standing after Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

found here

But as of 2006, developers had their way and the Pavilion was closed. 
A year later, despite massive community outcry, the building 
and theme park surrounding were demolished.
 It's said that the land still lays bare more than 5 years later. 

Such a shame and a terrible waste.

historical source 


They even made a movie about The Shag!
Shag: The Movie (1989)
Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Page Hannah,
Scott Coffey, Tyrone Power Jnr and Robert Rusler.

Set in summer of 1963, four friends set off for a weekend 
away at Myrtle Beach.

found here

I love this movie! (B grade city, but I still love it).
Great music, 60's fashions, cars, houses, furniture, throw in a talent contest, a dance contest, & some nasty rivals - all filmed mostly in and around locations in Myrtle Beach.

 Original VHS trailer...

Country band Alabama had a single 'Dancin', Shaggin' on the Boulevard' paying tribute to their musical heritage.  The song is reflecting on the bands days playing clubs in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

So there you have it!

The Carolina Shag.

Not just a dance, but an old school culture of summer nights, ocean breezes, 
beach music, and good times on the boulevard : )


  1. Wow, great post! Love the shag and love learning new stuff! Anymore exchange student stories or is what happens in Carolina stays Carolina?

  2. Thanks for sharing our Carolina Shag with so many who may have never been able to enjoy it, otherwise. We do love it! Thank you, also, for the sweet comments you made about our dance!
    ~Cameron Davis

  3. Hi Cameron! You are so welcome! And thank you for allowing me to share your awesome video clip here. You guys look like you are having a ball, and that's what makes it so great to watch. Thanks for popping by here. I will keep my eye out for more 'Cameron and Alan' dance clips to come : )

  4. Hi Pippa! Yep, I love the shag too. Will lend you Shag: The Movie to watch one rainy day if you are keen : )

  5. Would love to watch it and dance lessons with Cameron would be nice too! What a pair of movers and shakers, Mac and I watched the dancing three times!


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