Florence Shag Club does its part to preserve the state dance, keep the culture alive

LINDSAY S. BUCHANAN

August 7, 2013

FLORENCE, S.C. — The music is hopping and the dance floor is so crowded people can hardly move. The legendary Betty Brown is at the DJ booth spinning tunes. Each song is a memory from shag dances past.

Voices heard from around the dance floor say: “Hurry, this is a good one.” “C’mon, let’s go dance.” “I can still hear the sand under people’s feet from the first time I ever saw people shagging, and it was this song playing.”

Carolina Beach Music — often debated, never defined — provides the mood on the dance floor with song titles like “Stagger Lee,” “Too Much Candy For a Dime,” “39-21-40 Shape,” “60 Minute Man” and, of course, “Carolina Girl.”

Its roots reach back to rhythm and blues, but it has its own unique sound — a sound as unique as the signature moves.

It’s the shag. And it’s the official state dance of South Carolina.

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