Shag (or “Collegiate Shag”) is a partner dance that is done by a good number of Swing dancers in Los Angeles and Orange County, usually to fast music from the 1920’s or 30’s.
A little while ago, I saw a video on Facebook from an Instagram feed called Live.Collegiate.Shag. It was a short clip of local Swing dancer Kendall Roderick doing Shag. I was intrigued so I went to the Instagram feed and was amazed to find that it was full of high-quality Shag videos!
The videos are produced by Kendall with the help of her husband Ronnie and guest dancers like Mike Mizgalski (“Sailor Mike”). They’re really short clips, but I was blown away at the quality of the dancing, good production values, interesting locations, and great choice of music. Here’s an example with Sailor Mike:
And with an interesting camera angle:
And even one filmed from a drone!
Needless to say, I became a huge fan of these. I’m not the only one, because as of now, Kendall has 3,663 followers. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the best collection of Shag videos on the Internet today! If you agree, follow her Instagram feed, Live.Collegiate.Shag!
The Shag basic is 6-counts (one for each quarter note): slow on beats 1-2, slow on beats 3-4, then quick-quick, similar to East Coast swing.
1-2: STEP onto left foot, small hop on left (more of a pulse) on beat 2
3-4: STEP onto right foot, small hop on right (more of a pulse) on beat 4
5: STEP onto left foot
6: STEP onto right foot. The movement during beats 5 and 6 is often described as a shuffling motion.
As mentioned above, this is usually broken down verbally as “slow, slow; quick, quick” where the ‘slows’ cover two beats (or ‘counts’) each and the ‘quicks’ mark a single beat (or ‘count’) each. (Modified from Wikipedia)
The follower’s part is the mirror image of this.
The cool thing about Shag is that it’s a really simple dance, so it’s pretty easy to reverse-engineer the moves that Kendall and her partners are doing.
It would be even better if you could slow down or repeat portions of the video, but unfortunately Instagram doesn’t have that feature.
However, Kendall does have a YouTube channel with a few videos on there with better player controls.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that one of the reasons for the increasing popularity of Shag in L.A. is instructor Steve Sayer. He offers Shag classes and he and his Shag team always come home with top awards from Camp Hollywood. If you’re interested in learning or improving your Shag, sign up the the LA Shag Festival coming up in April!
What Do You Think?
But back to the videos. I think they are an awesome resource and I haven’t seen a better collection of Shag videos online. Many thanks to Kendall for putting them out there! What do you think? – Brian