There are many different types of dance. From ballroom dancing to breakdancing and everything in between, lovers of dance are sure to find the right style that suits them. One couple proved to a panel of judges that they have mastered the art form of Shag dancing by winning the National Grand Shag Dance Competition in 2017 and 2018.
Tobitha Stewart and her partner Jay Rollins can be seen cutting a rug in a video from the 2018 Grand Nationals Master Shag dance competition. The pair move incredibly fast and smoothly in the video as they spin in total unison. Rollins’ legs are especially mesmerizing as they seem to bend and move as if he is made of rubber.
Nearly the same height when Stewart is in heels, the dance duo is a perfect match. Their strengths and weaknesses complement each other, and the entire performance is a joy to watch. Both Stewart and Rollins have some fancy footwork, and it is no wonder that they won the championship two years in a row.
Shag is a dancing style that is sometimes referred to as the swing of the south because it originated in South Carolina and has remained popular in the American South to this day. The dance style was made popular by African American communities in the late 1930s and into the ‘40s. Shag is linked to swing dancing, but they are not exactly the same. It has a six-count, eight-step pattern that is performed in what is called a slot.
Keep reading to learn more about this style of dance and to see reactions to the video
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video
First gaining popularity in the southern beach communities, Shag has been able to stick around all these years. The author of “Boogie Woogie Beats,” Dino Thompson, explained how the dance got started: “We started dancing like we talked to girls at the beach – laid back, slow and easy.” This is reflected in the almost fluid-like way the dancers move around the stage.
Shag, like many forms of dance, has brought different communities together. Thompson added, “The sheer power of the emotional appeal of music brought the races together. Black and white, rich and poor, jumped the rope and came down from the balconies to share the music and a memory.”
The Discover South Carolina tourism website has an entire page dedicated to the history of Shag. It says: “One thing that makes the Shag such a popular dance is that anyone can do it – whether you’re six years old or 96 years old. It breaks barriers and brings everyone together with one common purpose: to have fun and enjoy the music.”
The video of the 2018 competition has been uploaded to YouTube, where it has gained almost 1.5 million views. Viewers young and old can’t get enough of this fun dance style. One person said, “I have never seen this kind of dancing, I’ve seen the Swing dancing and Jack and Jill style. Is this the same thing? I loved watching this!”
Another commenter added, “My husband and I used to Country Dance and the Shag is similar to the East and West Coast Swing. We also attended dance competitions. These dancers are really smooth. When you partner dance you have to be in sync. They were. I watched their feet and they are good.”
Do you enjoy this style of dancing? What do you think of the performance? Let us know your opinion, and be sure to pass this along to your friends and loved ones.