Myrtle Beach and the State Dance of South Carolina: The Shag


The Shag is a dance that’s inexorably tied to South Carolina and Myrtle Beach in particular. After all, the dance is associated in popular memory with sandy beaches and its signature music, an offshoot of R&B called beach music.

Some suggest that the shag, a dance related to the jitterbug but with gliding steps, may have originated at Charlie’s Place, a historically black nightclub, as early as the 1930s. Over time, the dance and the club became popular with an integrated crowd. Today, the shag lives on, with organizations dedicated to the dance and the music still getting together for shag festivals and dance events.

Two of the biggest shag events around are the SOS Fall Migration, Spring Safari and the SOS Mid-Winter break, both of which are hosted by the Society of Stranders and held in Myrtle Beach. The fall migration is traditionally held in mid-September, and includes parties, dancing and street festivals. Shag clubs from around the region participate.

If you’re interested in shagging, you may want to head to North Myrtle Beach. Duck’s Beach Club, Fat Harold’s Beach Club and the Shagger’s Hall of Fame are all located in North Myrtle Beach. Fat Harold’ often offers free shag lessons, so you may want to check their website or give them a call to find out when you can sharpen your skills or learn the shag for the first time.

More information about the shag, as well as links to many of the organizations and events that promote the dance and its culture, can be found at

Published 10/24/13

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