I have been dancing shag for five years now. I learned how to shag (the state dance of South Carolina) at a shag fest my freshman year. It took me about six weeks to really get the hang of it. I took advanced lessons from Tom and Pat Rocks in the summer of my Sophomore year. They are famous for being extras on "Dirty Dancing". I taught free shag lessons to other students and faculty/staff at Furman during my Junior and Senior years. I won third place in the shag competition in Furman's Dining Hall. I also won first place at the shag contest in the old gym at Furman sponsored by Mu Phi Epsilon. This dance was held spring of '95.

Here is my attempt at explaining the basic shag step:

The basic shag is an 8 step dance. It is danced to a six count beat. The steps are "1,2,3"-"4,5,6"-"7,8". The "1,2,3" takes two counts, the "4,5,6" takes 2 counts, and the "7,8" takes 2 counts (so each step is one beat). Males start on their left foot and step forward on 1. This is about a full foot length (or a little more) in front of the other foot (but the feet are parallel and side by side). The 2 step is kinda just a weight shift back onto the right foot (for men). There might be a slight forward movement, but not much. The 3 step is a weight shift back to the front foot. 4,5,6 is basically continuing this weight shift pattern. I make the analogy of a rocking chair when I teach shag lessons. The 7 step is a back step, so the foot that made the move (the left foot in males) is one foot length behind the other foot. The 8 step is a weight shift back to the other foot (the right in males). Then you start over. Females start with the right foot and step forward on 1. It is a mirror step, so both partners come together on 1 and apart on 7.

As far as advanced steps, they are harder to explain in words. Mainly because they involve more movement than just forward and backward. The best thing to do is to get a shag instructor. If you can't find a shag instructor, try a swing instructor. The beat is the same, but the footwork and associated moves are different (the swing is a much more "hippy" dance where you swivel the hips more).

I love to dance and know several advanced steps. Please write me if you would like more information about shag or lessons.

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Here are some great shag information sites:

Betty B's Bungalow

The Carolina Coast

Shagger's play list sampler

This is another version of the basic step

Two versions of shag steps

Carolina Shag

Shag in Atlanta

A great site with lots of links to shag clubs

This is a video series for sale on the shag, although I have never seen it myself

Another set of shag videos for sale, although I have not seen these either

This is also a shag video for sale, but I haven't seen this one either.

Here are some more shag videos that I haven't seen.

accesses since Oct. 26, 1997.

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