Carolina Shag Dancing is the state dance of South Carolina and is said to have originated between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington in the mid-1940’s. People of Myrtle Beach and all who know this dance really well refer to the dance as ‘shagging’. Considering the dance originated in and around Myrtle Beach, it makes sense there would be some great shag dancing locations on the grand strand.

In this Carolina Shag Dancing Guide, we tell you a little about what the Carolina Shag is, and the places to go to learn and craft this dance.

What is Shag Dancing?

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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The Carolina Shag originated between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington around the mid-1940’s. The basic step in Carolina Shag is a six-count, eight-step pattern danced in a slot. The rhythm is similar to a six-count Swing meaning it is a triple step, triple step, rock step or counted as “one-and-two, three-and-four, five-six”.  This is a 2 person male-led dance.

The Shag is said to be a descendant of the Carolina Jitterbug, a dance than many have heard of and that was popular during the 1950’s.

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Carolina Jitterbug Dance. Mid 1940’s to 1950’s

So why is the shag so popular in the Carolina’s?

During the 1940’s, Blues Music (known then as Beach Music) was the popular genre in the Carolina’s and especially within the coastal communities. This music was played at beach parties up and down the South Carolina coast. Many of the dancers around the Carolina’s during this time were all too familiar with the Carolina Jitterbug and inadvertently created what is now known as the Carolina Shag.

In this time period, teens from across the state were obsessed with shag dancing, this was the cool thing to do during this time.

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The Carolina Shag

So Where Do You Go To Shag On The Grand Strand??

Fat Harold’s Beach Club

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Fat Harolds, Myrtle Beach, SC

Harolds is probably the most popular shag dancing spot in Myrtle Beach and is why it’s our first choice on this Carolina Shag Dancing Guide. Harolds has live music, DJ’S, dance competitions, and dance lessons. If you are new to shagging, check out Fat Harolds first. For more info visit Fat Harolds Website.

OD Arcade & Beach Club

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OD Arcade & Beach Club

This Arcade and Beach Club is for sure the place to go in North Myrtle Beach to dance the shag. In addition to dancing, the club has a live DJ, inside and outside dining, arcade, billiards, and more. This club is in the heart of North Myrtle Beach right on Ocean Blvd. This is truly an iconic spot on the Grand Strand. For More Info visit OD Arcade & Lounge

Pirate’s Cove Lounge 

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Pirate’s Cove Lounge, North Myrtle Beach

Pirates Cove Lounge is a staple of North Myrtle Beach and has been in business for many years. Many shagger’s love Pirates Cove for shag dancing, this is where many got their start with the dance. They also have a nice deck where you can hang out and play music from just about every genre. This is a must visit for shag dancing.

Final Thoughts

The Shag dance became popular for one simple reason, its fun! Although Carolina Shag Dancing is actually a rather challenging dance, it comes with great reward and culture once you learn. There is no better place for Carolina Shag Dancing than Myrtle Beach. If you are completely new to the Shag, you can find many people in Myrtle Beach willing to teach you.

For More articles on the Grand Strand see Grand Strand

If you have anything to add to this Carolina Shag Dancing Guide, please email