From shagging on the beach to doing the Charleston by the Battery, the Lowcountry is the perfect setting for putting some swing in your step! It’s time to dust off your dancing shoes and learn about some of the Holy City’s most popular dances to avoid stepping on any feet at your next Southern soirée.
The Carolina Shag: A Southern Staple
Designated as South Carolina’s official State Dance in 1984, the shag is a six-count step dance typically done with a partner to the tune of beach music. The term was coined by cities along the South Carolina shore in the 1940’s and its dance moves descended from a dance called “Little Apple” which originated in Columbia, South Carolina. Shag dancing is one of the most casual dances, one that you can swing to on the beach without spilling your drink. When dressing for the occasion, keep it casual and stick to flip flops, button downs, khaki’s and skirts.
Concierge tip: Want to put your shagging skills to the test? Beginning in April, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission hosts “Shaggin’ on the Cooper” at the Mount Pleasant Pier every Friday evening (pictured above).
The Charleston: A Piece of History
The Charleston, as presumed, coined its name right here in the Holy City. The fast-paced swing dance rose to fame after appearing in the Broadway musical “Runnin’ Wild” in 1923 and triumphed the Roaring Twenties, becoming one of the most popular dances at the time. The dance is accompanied by ragtime jazz music and is in quick four by four step counts with syncopated rhythms, incorporating quick feet movements and swaying arms. The Charleston can be done alone, with a partner or with a larger group, and the common attire is a suit for men and flapper-style dresses for women. Although the Charleston is not as common today, it remains a cultural trademark of the Jazz age in the Lowcountry and the flappers who so often danced the flamboyant movements to jazzy beats.
Practice your moves using these step-by-step videos for learning The Shag and The Charleston.