Carolina Shag
The Dance Store HomeAbout the Dance StoreOrdering from the Dance StoreThe Dance Store FAQsContact the Dance Store
View Cart or Checkout
Carolina Shag See also:
Carolina Shag DVD's & Videos >>
Carolina Shag Learning Area >>


Free Video Instruction
An Introduction to The Carolina Shag

Windows Media
Video Help

An Introduction to the
Carolina Shag


Video Script

Welcome to North Myrtle Beach South Carolina, the home of the swing dance called the Carolina Shag.

The Carolina shag is a slotted swing dance that shares many figures with “jitterbug,” east coast swing, and west coast swing. Originating in the late 1930’s in the nightclubs in Myrtle Beach, SC, the Carolina Shag is the official state dance of South Carolina. However, the Carolina shag is very popular all over the southeast region of the United States. In fact most cities in the southeast have shag clubs. In the last ten years, shag and west coast swing have started to merge and many shag steps are being incorporated into west coast swing dance routines.

The Carolina shag uses the same footwork timing as east coast swing: triple step, triple step, rock step. Some dancers use a “kick-ball-change” step in place of the rock step. The music tempo is typically 115 to 130 beats per minutes. The music tempo and style of shag is the same as is used in west coast swing. This allows west coast swing and shag dancers to share the same dance floor.
<< Back to top

The Character of Shag

In proper character, shag is a smooth, graceful dance with an emphasis on footwork rather than on turns. Unlike the jitterbug, shag does not have bounce. Instead, it’s smooth and grounded. The old saying is that shag is danced from the waist down. Shag emphasizes footwork patterns and in particular, patterns that are matched between the two partners. These matched steps are called mirror steps. The partners are typically connected with one hand only, rarely with two hands as is common in jitterbug. Historically, shag tended to spotlight the male dancer, but this is starting to change.
<< Back to top

Shag Music

The Carolina shag may be danced to classic “beach music” tunes such as “Carolina Girls,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and “I Love Beach Music,” or the Carolina shag may be danced to Motown and blues. Most shag music is interchangeable with west coast swing music. The music is normally blues style, written in 4/4 time.
<< Back to top

Shag Activities

The city of year-round shag is the birthplace of the shag: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In particular, the Mecca of shag is a small section of North Myrtle Beach called Ocean Drive Beach. In the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach, several nightclubs cater to shaggers, providing the beach music and the slick hardwood dance floors they desire. In particular, Fat Harold’s and Ducks are true-blue shag bars and both feature large hardwood dance floors and a great dance environment. In addition, other clubs such as the O.D. Café and the O.D. Pavillion offer shag activities.
<< Back to top

Society of Stranders (SOS)

Three times a year, huge shag dance festivals are held in North Myrtle Beach. These occur in the spring, in the mid-winter, and in the fall. The spring and fall events are called SOS, which stands for Society of Stranders. Myrtle beach is called the grand strand, and residents and frequenters of this area are called stranders. Anyone who likes to have fun dancing to beach music is welcome.

The spring SOS event is referred to as the Spring Safari and the fall event is referred to as the Fall Migration. SOS started as a small reunion of friends. Now, over 12000 dancers attend SOS events. Both yearly SOS events are ten days in length, and encompass the majority of the local lounges on or within walking distance of Main Street. For more information, visit
<< Back to top

Directions to the Ocean Drive Beach Section of North Myrtle Beach

Getting to North Myrtle Beach is easy. From Interstate 95, take South Carolina Route 9 south to Route 17 South. Travel a sort distance on Route 17 South and then turn left on Main Street to enter the Ocean Drive Beach section of North Myrtle Beach. To get detailed driving directions, go to MapQuest on the Internet and look up Main Street in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You’ll know you are at the right place if you see the water tower with shaggers painted on the side.
<< Back to top

Lodging in North Myrtle Beach

Plenty of hotels are located in the Ocean Drive Section of North Myrtle Beach and five large and very nice oceanfront hotels are just a short walk from the nightclubs. The closest hotel to the shag dancing nightlife is the Ocean Drive Golf and Beach Resort. Two nightclubs, The Spanish Galleon and the O.D. Café, are located on the bottom floor of this nice oceanfront resort. The Ocean Drive Golf and Beach Resort is located on the corner of Main Street and Ocean Boulevard.

Next door to the Ocean Drive Golf and Beach Resort is the Ashworth Resort, located at 102 North Ocean Boulevard.

Just north of the Ashworth is the Tilghman condominium complex. Most of these 2 and 3 condominiums can be rented.

Just north of the Tilghman complex is the new AVISTA resort, located at 300 North Ocean Boulevard.

Next door to the Avista is the Maritime Beach Club Hotel.

All of these five hotels are oceanfront and within an easy walk from the nightclubs located on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach.

In this video clip, we are driving east toward the ocean on Main Street, in North Myrtle Beach.

The Ocean Drive Resort and the Ocean Drive Pavilion ate located on the horseshoe, oceanfront, at the end of Main Street.
<< Back to top

Learning to Dance the Shag – Instructional Videos

Learning to dance the shag is easy. The Dance Store offers an instructional video by ten-time shag champions Charlie Womble and Jackie McGee. This DVD is the most popular instructional video on the market.
<< Back to top

The Dance Store Online Your Source for Ballroom and Latin Dance Instruction P.O. Box 72732, Richmond, VA 23235, USA