Shagging the night away in Beaufort

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Tommy O’Brien, center, with wife Sheri, coaches the dancers in not only the dance steps but how to call them to each other. O’Brien said a combination of dance steps can be invented by anybody in shag dancing.

Photo above: Shaggers discuss their next move while trying to learn the Hurricane step. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Bob Sofaly

Despite torrential rainfall, about 100 stalwart dancers got together from all over the state for a night of fundraising, dinner and dancing at The Shed in Port Royal last Saturday night.

A silent auction and raffles were both big parts of the fundraiser.
A silent auction and raffles were both big parts of the fundraiser.

Event organizers said some dancers were unable make the trek to Beaufort including guest of honor and Shag Hall of Fame dancer Ellen Taylor of Edisto Island for whom the event was being held. “Ellen could not make it given the awful weather they are getting further up the coast,” according to Tommy O’Brien. “But the night was a big success as they raised more than $6,400 for the Ellen Taylor Foundation for Junior Shaggers”, he said.

Besides dinner and a silent auction there was to be a dance workshop put on by Taylor. “Since Ellen couldn’t make it, I filled in” O’Brien said. O’Brien gave instruction of an advanced dancing technique whereby “I verbally call a pattern or a combination of steps thereby making a new dance move. We called ours The Hurricane”. The intricate steps were rehearsed over and over again until everybody was doing “The Hurricane” while rain continued to pound the exterior of the old metal building adding to the appropriateness of the name of the new shag step.