Looking to shag? Then you’ve come to the right state.
In 1984, South Carolina designated “The Carolina Shag” as its official state dance, and couples have been storming the dance floor to show off its signature moves and intricate footwork ever since. According to Bo Bryan, a Carolina Shag historian and resident of Beaufort County, the Carolina Shag is a descendant of the Carolina Jitterbug, and its predecessor, Little Apple, whose origins can be traced to Columbia circa 1937.
The basic step is a six-count, eight-step pattern danced in a slot, bearing only the faintest resemblance to other shag styles. According to the State House website, it can be performed to almost any tempo, as long as the basic step is maintained and kept in time to the music.
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The music that normally accompanies the Carolina shag, also known as “beach music,” has become synonymous with this particular shag style. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Carolina Shag is said to have originated at open-air beach parties on the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts. North Carolina also recognized the shag as a state symbol in 2005.
About this series: The inaugural edition of The State newspaper was published Feb. 18, 1891. In anticipation of the 125th anniversary, the Palmetto section and this section at thestate.com are recounting each day how The State covered newsmakers and events vital to South Carolina’s history.