An American Carolina Contra Dance with Southern Soul
WAYNE & JUDY BENNETT - Shag Dance Instructors
CAROLINA SHAG HISTORY
An International Contra Dance
The answer is broad and complex – the Shag is just the tip of an iceberg of multi - cultural history lost in the fog of time. The myths about the origin of the Shag leave out 90% of Southern history and its contribution to the world.
The Shag was active, and 'named' long before the Lindy Hop. The Shag came before the Jitterbug. The Shag propagated the Big Apple (not the reverse). (See Shaggin' In the Carolinas) The Shag grew and evolved at the coast in the 50s....the 40s....the 30s....but it started 'elsewhere.' The Shag pre-dates Rhythm 'n Blues by 40 years. The alleged 'Northern' Shag was not a northern Shag, it was invented in North Carolina. (See Shaggin' In the Carolinas) The 'two different Shags' were different, but connected (actually, there were Three Shags). (See Shaggin' In the Carolinas) The Shag WAS called the 'Shag' at the Beach in the 40s, 50s, 60s, etc. (as well as 'fas' dancin'', 'bop' and 'basic') (See Shaggin' In the Carolinas)
Although the Shag and Swing are cousins. (Shag is clearly a 'swing' dance) it preceded the Swing by decades. (Although, a case could be made that they both had clear lineages into the teens, even then they diverge in their origins).
Together with the Charleston and the Big Apple, Shag Historywhen it's fully laid out depicts Southern history in a way that has never been documented. Bo Bryan's book, "Shag Legendary Dance of the South," scratched the surface by portraying the elite community of dancers we now characterize as the Shaggers Hall of Fame. Yet even that history is but the tip of the icebergthe butter on the grits.
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