The Carolina shag is a partner dance done primarily to beach music (100-130+ beats per minute in 4/4 time signature). Today, the shag is a recognized dance in national and international dance competitions held across the United States.
The basic step in Carolina Shag is a six-count, eight-step pattern danced in a slot. The rhythm is similar to six-count Swing in that it is triple step, triple step, rock step or counted as "one-and-two, three-and-four, five-six". Eight shag dance steps are in the basic pattern. The "one-and-two" and "three-and-four" steps should take about as much time to complete as the "five-six."
Carolina shag often bears only the faintest resemblance to other dances that share the "shag" designation.
The term "Carolina shag" is thought to have originated along the Atlantic Ocean in Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina during the 1940s. According to Bo Bryan, a Carolina shag historian and resident of Beaufort County, the term was coined at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The Carolina shag is a descendant of Carolina Jitterbug, and its predecessor, Little Apple, which was the white version of the Big Apple (whose origins can be traced to Columbia, South Carolina in 1937) after whites sat (after "jumping the Jim Crow rope") in the balconies in the black clubs to watch the dancing.
The 1989 film Shag starring Bridget Fonda, Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish, and Page Hannah as four high-school friends on their last road trip together before graduation, was filmed in Myrtle Beach and features the Carolina shag.
In a 2014 episode of Steve Harvey, Harvey introduced a couple who danced the Carolina shag, and then Harvey disclosed that he has been studying and practicing the Carolina shag for an hour a day for the past year.
- Shag: The Legendary Dance of the South, Bo Bryan, 1995, 120 pages, ISBN 0-9648084-0-4
- Good Rocking People Charlie & Jackie on Steve Harvey, Jeff Martin, Feb 15, 2014.
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