Home   NC Calendar   SC Calendar    SOS  Calendar    Carolinas Coast Calendar   Northern States Calendar   Southern States Calendar
   
      

The Shag, which developed on the crowded floors of dance clubs, is called a slot dance because it is danced with both partners moving up and down on a single line or track. If you imagine yourself dancing on a single railroad tie, it will help you to remember to stay on your track.  This slot helps the dancers to dance within a very small space without bumping into each other. The slot can rotate and change, however, it is important to remember that each partner continues to dance on a slot in relation to each other. This slot is an area about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide.  If the floor is very crowded this slot area decreases.    If the floor is not crowded a larger slot area is acceptable. In any type of partner dancing, there are basic elements that together make the dance flow. These elements are the clean footwork, the correct timing, a strong dance position, and good lead and follow.  There are  many different patterns and movements in Shag dancing. The patterns mainly include different types of turns for both the man and the woman.   Correct timing is important in helping both partners coordinate their steps together and it also makes the dance flow better. In the description of the patterns below, the timing, or count, for each step is in parentheses after the description of the step.   Learning these patterns will help you to get started out on the dance floor.  The basic shag count is “1” “and” “2” “3” “and” “4” “5” “6”.  Or it can be counted as “quick” “quick” “slow” “quick” “quick” “slow” “slow” “slow”.  Another way to explain the steps is “triple step” “triple step” “step” “step”.  (with each syllable representing a step).   More advanced moves, like the pivot rotation, are done with an eight beat count.  The eight beat count is changed from the basic count and is counted “1” “and” “2” “3” “4” “5” “and” “6” “7” “8”.   Or it can be counted as “quick” “quick” “slow” “slow” “slow” “quick” “quick” “slow” “slow” “slow”.  Another way to explain the 8 beat step is “triple step” “step” “step”  “triple step” “step” “step”.  (with each syllable representing a step).  The leader always starts the “1” on the left foot.  The follower always starts the “one” on the right foot.  This keeps the partnership balanced.  The shag is a smooth dance without much hopping and without  up and down movement within the body.  The focus is on the leader with lots of fancy footwork. 

 

The Basic

Man's part

1.      Step up with the left foot (count 1)

2.      Step together with the right foot (count &)

3.      Step back with the left foot to original position. (count 2)

4.      Step back with the right foot. (count 3)

5.      Weight shift back to left foot.  (count &)

6.      Weight shift back to right foot.  (count 4)

7.      Step back with left foot.  (count 5)

8.      Weight shift back to right foot.  (count 6)

 Lady's part

1.      Step up with the right foot (count 1)

2.      Step together with the left foot (count &)

3.      Step back with the right foot to original position. (count 2) 

4.      Step back with the left  foot. (count 3)

5.      Weight shift back to right foot.  (count &)

6.      Weight shift back to left  foot.  (count 4)

7.      Step back with right foot. (count 5)

8.      Weight shift back to left foot. (count 6)

 

The Anchor Step is one of the most basic patterns which is frequently used at the end of every movement. When dancing this step, you should  feel anchored to the floor by taking very small steps in place. Two of the most common anchor 5 – 6 steps are (step back and forward) or the kick ball change.  After some of the basic steps of Shag patterns become comfortable, the anchor step can be replaced with alternate patterns.  Shag is danced in an open dance position which means that the man and woman will dance facing each other with the mans left hand and ladies right hand connected.  The lady should curve her fingers so that they form the shape of a "C." The man will hold his hand out in front of his body with his  fingers curved inwards. The woman will place her hand on top of the man's hand so that her fingers rest against the man's fingers.   Leading is a nonverbal communication between the man and the woman. The man only needs to indicate to the woman where he wants her to go or what he wants her to do. The woman is responsible for moving herself where she is being led. The man should not try to make the woman move where he wants her to go and the woman must not decide what she is going to do before she is led. This is called  back-leading and makes leading and following very difficult. In order to lead and follow well, both partners must have a connection, which needs to be maintained at all times. In an open dance position, as in Shag, the connection comes through the hands.  Both the man and the woman should pull their hands away from each other, creating a slight pressure. There is always an equal amount of pressure towards or away from your connecting point (In this case, the fingers). There should not be squeezing, or gripping of your partner's hand and no use of the thumb.  These are the most basic movements and techniques in Shag.  Learning to dance takes a lot of practice and these steps and techniques should be practiced frequently until both you and your partner are comfortable with them.  In the beginning, the steps may feel uncomfortable and even awkward, but over time they will become automatic and will feel natural. Once you get these basic steps down, you will be ready to start to learn the many turns and variations in the dance.  Shag dance is a combination of one leader (usually the male) and one follower (usually the female).   The leader always starts the “1” on the left foot.   The follower always starts the “one” on the right foot.  This keeps the partnership balanced.  The shag is a smooth dance without much hopping and without  up and down movement within the body.  The focus is on the leader with lots of fancy footwork.  Wear comfortable clothes.  Men and women should wear leather-bottomed shoes .  Even though there are many different styles of dance, each with its own moves and techniques, there are some basic fundamentals of dancing that are important for all dancers to develop no matter which style of dance you are learning.  These fundamentals include posture, technique, rhythm and presentation.   Good posture is very important in controlling your movements and keeping your balance.  Basically, you want to think about keeping your spine straight, from your hips all the way up to your head.  You also want to make sure that you hold your head up while you dance instead of looking down at the dance floor.  Looking at the dance floor is one of the fastest ways to ruin good posture.  There are different ways to think about how to maintain good posture.  One way is to imagine someone pulling a string up through the top of your head.  This should help to keep your head up and rib cage lifted.  Another way to think about it is to imagine a pole running vertically through  your body which keeps your torso straight and your head up.  An important point to remember though is that while it is very important to keep your torso straight and lifted while you dance, you don’t want your body to become too stiff.  In reality, your spine is what is kept  straight and lifted and the rest of your body dances around your spine.   One of the most important things in dancing is having the correct timing.  The timing will vary depending on the choreography, however, it is important to hear the rhythm in the music in order to stay on time with the music.  Most people can learn to hear the rhythm by practicing various dance routines with the music.  For people with more difficulty hearing the rhythm in the music, learning to play a musical instrument or taking a basic music class can help.  A good presentation is when the dancer or performer allows his/her own personality and emotions to come out while he/she is dancing.  This is usually the last thing that is developed in becoming a good dancer.  This is because it is difficult to express your personality while you are thinking about technique, posture, rhythm, etc.  However, once you develop good dance  technique and rhythm, you can become absorbed in the music and the music will be expressed through your dancing. Learning to dance takes time and a lot of practice.  However, developing these  fundamentals will help you to become a better and more versatile dancer.

email =  shagtour@shagtour.com

copyright @ 2007 - 2013