There is a unique dance style that originated in the Carolinas during the 1950’s called ‘The Shag.’ It is a couples’ dance that usually performed to what is known as ‘Carolina Beach Music.’ Rooted in regional mid-century rhythm and blues, this music and dance style still has many fans, and even an organization and annual convention.
Two of its best known and well loved dancers are the husband and wife team of Jackie McGee and Charlie Womble. These two can cut a rug like a pair of razor blades, and their fancy footwork gets audiences on their toes every time they hit the dance floor. You are going to be amazed at this modern day ‘Fred and Ginger’ when you watch this wonderful video.
While the shag is not very well known today outside of South Carolina, Jackie and Charlie are considered by many to be among its top performers and they are celebrities in the Palmetto State.
The essential dance is rooted in a six-count, eight-step pattern that’s danced in what is known as a slot. McGee says she loves the accordion-like manner that the dancers move as they pull close and draw away from each other.
This video, which was shot at ShagAtlanta in 2013, demonstrates exactly why this twinkle toed couple is so well admired. Just watching them spin is enough to make us dizzy. They are regular winners at dance competitions and have even been inducted into the Shaggers Hall of Fame.
Just knowing that there is a Shaggers Hall of Fame is almost enough reason to want to visit South Carolina on it’s own, right?
People from all over have really loved watching these two cut up the rug. Folks have been taking to social media and the internet to say things like:
“I could watch this a million times and not get tired of it.”- Nicole Brown
“Smoooooth, what a treat for the soul to watch!”- Eleanore Lowrey
“That was awesome. The best Shagging, I’ve seen. Very smooth, watching their feet. It’s amazing I see the same elements in Salsa and Stepping. oh yeah…they’re only 60+, that’s young. That’s not “old”, I’ve seen people in their 80s running 5-7 miles a day.”- Robin Nelson
“It don’t get no better than that.”- CB108
“At least from an noob’s point of view it shares a lot of similarities with West Coast Swing.”- River Siege
“Tried to watch this without smiling…epic fail.”- Antoine Paulette
“Love it love it love it!!! You two just seem to be gliding over ice ….just wonderful!”- Franmom Momm
“I want to be friends with these people and dance with them!”- Lisa Marie
“Truly amazing. I tried watching their feet move and couldn’t keep up. So awesome.”- Anon.
“Very Very Cool how quick and light on their feet makes it look easy, but i got tired
just watching them.”- Anon.
“On youtube, there are videos of this couple doing the Shag all the way back in 1983! So they’ve been doing this for a least 33 years!”- Orange Guitar
Have you ever tried to do the shag? What is your favorite dance style? Share your ideas and stories with us here.