Beaufort Shag Club keeps dance tradition alive

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In their book, “Save the Last Dance for Me,” a history of the Shag, the South Carolina state dance, Dr. Phil Sawyer and Tom Poland write, “A cold beer on a warm night with a hot date and not a care about tomorrow.”

That romantic, nostalgic look at life on the beach and in the dance clubs of North Myrtle Beach calls to those who grew up shagging in the 50s and 60s, and to those the dance has newly captured as adults today.

The Beaufort Shag Club’s purpose is to promote the Shag and to preserve the heritage and the music that are intrinsic parts of Shag life. Club members dance the Shag to Carolina Beach Music, a genre different from surfing music such as The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and Dick Dale. Carolina Beach Music’s roots are deep in Rhythm and Blues, and it has branched out to new artists who understand the Shag and create music that sings to the dance and its carefree lifestyle. Often, it incorporates some country, pop, and Motown: dancers can Shag to almost any kind of music — if the beat’s right.

The Beaufort Shag Club offers a four-week beginners’ class and a four-week intermediate class. The lessons progress from the basic Shag step through intermediate moves. At the end of the eight weeks, new dancers will feel comfortable taking to the floor at any Shag event.

The club also has a Junior Shag program aimed at young people, who are an important part of the picture since the club’s goal is to keep the Shag tradition alive by passing the dance on to the next generation. Lessons are offered several times a year to introduce the dance to young people, to develop the dancing and social skills, and to demonstrate our affection for the Shag.

Everyone is welcome to join the club and to learn how to Shag. Lessons are not required for membership, but they are available at no cost to members. Once a member, you can register for lessons by contacting the club’s Vice President, Judy Dayner, at daynerjudy@gmail.com.

For more information about the Beaufort Shag Club, please visit the club’s website, www.beaufortshagclub.com to check out all the particulars and to download a membership application, or contact Dave Olszewski, Club President, by phone at 843-522-1918, or by email at boardwalk43@aol.com.