Shag: Gut-Level Rhythm & Blues

Come the summer of 2015, the Shag, the legendary dance of the South, will celebrate its 72nd anniversary of conception.

In June of 1943, it came to pass that Race Music, gut-level Rhythm and Blues, the sound later labeled Rock-n-Roll found its way onto jukeboxes along the Carolina coast. The Southern teenagers called it Beach Music.

In response to that rolling-and-rocking rhythm, the Shag dance was conceived—a unique form in American terpsichorean history. Descended from West European influences as diverse as the minuet, the waltz, and the highland fling— cross fertilized with the jitterbug —the Shag began evolving the moment Beach Music found the dancers.

Rhythm that empowered youth worldwide was first discovered during World War II on the beaches of North and South Carolina.

Ten years ahead of Elvis Presley, Southern teenagers conceived the first and only first dance of the Rock-n-Roll Revolution. So it was, and will ever be, the legendary Shag.