The Daily Gamecock

Shagging on the 'Shoe

Honors Council hosts shag tutorial on the Horseshoe for students


Students ventured out by the dozens Thursday to dance at Shag Night on the Horseshoe. The Honors Council hosted the event near the McCutchen House so students could learn what has been the official state dance since 1984.

“It’s a cultural event for any USC student to learn the state dance,” Honors Council President and fourth-year hotel restaurant and tourism management student Anna Hegquist said.

The shag, which has been around since the 1940s, is a type of swing dance that has a six-count partner routine and a relaxed but steady flow — a flow that is very popular among South Carolinians.

“It’s Horseshoe tradition to do this,” said Jaclyn Fisher, a second-year marine science student. “For years, the council has been doing Shag Night on the Horseshoe.”

After the council divided the students by gender, they designated six to 10 students to help instruct others on how to move their feet.

“I’ve been swing dancing for two years,” said second-year pre-pharmacy student Phu Nguyen, one of the instructors. “Dancing is for everybody.”

Dancing is also a passion for first-year music performance student Alex Beaton, who has been shuffling his feet since he was a high school freshman. He said he first learned the shag a month ago and he has been doing it regularly since then.

“I’ve been doing it every Thursday night at Jillian’s. That’s the place to be,” said Beaton, before darting off into the crowd to find a dance partner.

The Vista nightclub Jillian’s reserves its Thursday nights for the state dance.

Third-year psychology student Erinn Whiteside said that she has been to Jillian’s Shag Nights a couple of times even though she claims not to be talented at it.

“I just came out here for fun. I might go (to Jillian’s) tonight,” Whiteside said.

Many students were dancing the night away to slow, summer-themed tunes as they slowly started to pick up the routine. The warm night steadily came alive as more students started to break away from instruction in order to find a dancing partner to swing with.

“The people teaching are making it easy to learn,” second-year biology student David Harris said. “I like the atmosphere.”