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David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

The birthplace of The Shag announces special events and a Shag Trail to mark the milestone

North Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 7, 2024 – North Myrtle Beach, known as the birthplace of The Shag, announces a year of celebrations and a Shag Trail to commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Shag’s designation as the state dance of South Carolina. 

“We are affectionately calling this year ‘The Year of the Shag’ in North Myrtle Beach,” states Cheryl Y. Kilday, CDME,  president and CEO of Destination North Myrtle Beach. “The Shag is an important part of our community’s identity and cultural heritage. The stories of how this dance connects people of all ages and backgrounds and forms bonds to our community and the North Myrtle Beach lifestyle are ones that we want to continue to foster and tell. We are looking forward to doing just that by inviting those who are familiar or new to The Shag to celebrate with us throughout the year.”

The Shag, also referred to as the “swing dance of the South,” is an upbeat and quick six-count, eight-step pattern regional dance that was inspired by the jitterbug and rhythm and blues music. It evolved and gained popularity with the beach music that accompanied it. In the 1940s, college students flocked to North Myrtle Beach for spring break. Their nightly schedules consisted of dancing the night away to beach music at clubs on Main Street and Ocean Drive.

Darrell Gaither, a well known local shag expert and dance teacher of 25 plus years, jokingly describes The Shag as “the jitterbug on valium, slowed down to adapt to the warm weather of the coastal south.” 

Also reflecting on The Shag, local resident and dance instructor Lori Setzer shares, “It’s hard to believe that a dance can lead to so many friends, opportunities for fun and a complete lifestyle change. North Myrtle Beach certainly is the home of shag.” 

Becoming the official State Dance of South Carolina on April 10, 1984, The Shag continues to remain a beloved part of North Myrtle Beach’s culture and nightlife – captivating seasoned dancers, novice dancers and onlookers alike. From dance lessons, festivals and spontaneous gatherings, the infectious, welcoming energy of The Shag serves as a testament to the enduring cultural significance and rhythmic spirit of North Myrtle Beach. Now, The Shag is admired globally with dance clubs in France, Norway and Germany. 

“The Shagging community and lifestyle in North Myrtle Beach offer so many opportunities for meeting and making new friends,” shares Charlie Pangburn, 2024 OD Shag Club president. “There are also opportunities to volunteer and help raise money for several charities we support. There is plenty to do, so come out and join the fun!”

To honor the milestone of North Myrtle Beach’s beloved dance roots, the city will host a free special event Celebrating The Shag: 40 Years as South Carolina’s State Dance on April 18 as the official anniversary shag celebration with a performance by Band of Oz at the Main Street Horseshoe.

“The City of North Myrtle Beach is excited to welcome shaggers to our beautiful City to celebrate and partake in ‘The Year of the Shag!’ This dance embodies the spirit of our City, bringing people together in celebration of our culture, our traditions and our shared sense of community. Let’s dance, laugh and create unforgettable memories as we honor our heritage and embrace ‘The Year of the Shag!’ Just remember to bring your dancing shoes!” Mayor Marilyn Hatley exclaims.

For more details about the history of The Shag, celebratory events, the Shag Trail, a podcast exploring The Shag in North Myrtle Beach and more, visit

Access downloadable assets for The Shag, credited to Destination North Myrtle Beach.

About North Myrtle Beach

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and South Carolina’s winding Intracoastal Waterway lies North Myrtle Beach – a coastal destination brimming in natural beauty, small-town charm and bountiful activities for all. Discover nine miles of pristine beaches, marshes teeming with wildlife, fresh seafood, family-friendly attractions, on-the-water fun, outdoor recreation, fishing, golf, award-winning entertainment and more. North Myrtle Beach is located at the north end of South Carolina’s Grand Strand and a mere 30 minute drive from the Myrtle Beach International Airport. For more information visit

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