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Shagging in South Carolina, a little history behind the state dance

The 'Fall Migration" and an event in Sumter will keep you dancing.

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolinians know it well. 

In fact, they teach it in our schools. 

The designated state dance. The Shag.

"We can come toward each other as I bring her in and we can go away from each other as I send her out and we finish with a rock step," said Jim Williamson, owner and instructor at Blue Moon Ballroom. 

This is the dance most South Carolinians are quite familiar with and there's some history behind the rhythm too.

"This was our form of doing swing dance, but since it was born on the beach, there was more of a shuffling action with the feet, instead of picking the steps up and down, which would of course kick sand all over your partner," Williamson said.

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Blue Moon Ballroom in West Columbia helps you get a groove to your feet and Williamson, the owner and an instructor explains the dance originally was a way for men to show off their skills when trying to impress a woman.

"It's a very important part of tying the community together because it gives everyone a chance to do something that you don't require very special skills for. If anyone can walk, they can dance," Williamson said.

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The washing machine and belly roll are for those with a little more experience.

Right now in Myrtle Beach, the capital of shag, you can catch shaggers from all across the state at the Fall Migration, a 10-day event. 

Also in Sumter on Friday October 11 from 7pm-11pm the 2nd annual Sumter County Cultural Commission's ShagFest.

There's tradition and fun in the footwork.

"Everyone loves a good beat from the beach music that you've heard over the years and so it just kind of makes you motivated to get up and get on your feet," Williamson said.

This studio in West Columbia, Blue Moon Ballroom, has an open shag dance every Friday night at 7:30 p.m. if you want to learn some moves yourself. 

It's located at 554 Meeting St, West Columbia, SC 29169.

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