Who Taught YOU the Basic?

Do you shag? If you are a fan of beach music then I am guessing you have probably at one time in your life, stepped out on the dance floor and started doing that 1 and 2, 3 and 4,  5-6. If you haven’t tried in public, you probably tried it at home so no one could see you…. Whether you are a pro, amateur,  or simply a beach music lover… I am guessing you appreciate our Official State Dance of South Carolina and Official State Popular Dance of North Carolina.

My question for you is… “Who taught you the Basic Step?” Did you take lessons, learn from a friend or simply teach yourself from watching? Tell me..( and the other thousands of  beach music online readers) who taught you the Shag Basic Step?

Who taught you the Basic Step?

please leave your comments below

20 thoughts on “Who Taught YOU the Basic?”

  1. Patty Hodge , Took leasons at a club in Garden City that I can’t remember the name of. I was so bad She asked if my knees would bend, but She didn’t give up on me, glad She didn’t. Made a big difference in the way my life went afterwards. Thanks Patty!

  2. The summer of 1963 I worked for Earnie Baker at Boardwalk Beach Service in Myrtle Beach. My fellow lifeguard and roommate at “the Shack” was Shad Alberty.I had a steady girl that summer, Suzanne Tate from Salisbury NC. Her family had a house in Crescent, and very importantly ,she had a car (a Mercury convertible). The three of us went out a lot together, to the Beach Club, the Pad, Sonny’s, etc., Suzanne and I would dance and Shad would critique. He would show us something (Suzanne and I were 16 & 17 that summer) and tell us to practise it. He would then come back later and say “Let me see whatcha got.” We would then demonstrate our new found stuff and he’d say: ” Looks OK, now do it this way.” and he’d do it again, only backwards and on the other foot. And that dear readers, was the summer that Suzanne and I learned to dance!

  3. I learned to shag by watching others on Friday nights at the YMCA in Burlington, NC. That was in the time of the Monzas, the Inmen ltd, and of course the Magnificents. It was a time I will never forget.

  4. I had taken Ballroom Dance as a P.E. in college in an effort to become a little more “official” when dancing to the beach music I loved. Shag was not really a part of the class, but the “swing” that the instructor taught was close enough that I was able to at least look like I knew what I was doing for a while. In 1983, after graduation from UNC and living in Raleigh for a year, I prepared to move to Greensboro for a new job. Before I left town I headed out to the Red’s on Capital Blvd. Wes May was teaching there and I jumped into a class hoping to pick up a few tips. Wes apparently realized I learned pretty quickly and generously took me aside and showed me a number of additional steps, all of which I used for 18 years, which was how long it took before I got into another shag class. I’ll never be able to thank him enough for taking that extra time with me. In April of 2001, after having lived in Orlando for just over a year and desperately missing the music and the dance that I love, I moved back to Raleigh. It wasn’t very long before I headed to Red’s yet again, determined to take “real” lessons. By this point, Red’s was on Craftsman Drive and Don Bunn was teaching with Madeline May and Bonnie Rhodes on Monday and Tuesday nights. I showed up on the last Tuesday of the month at the end of Don’s beginner cycle, which meant he was teaching the pivot that night, a difficult step to learn for almost anyone. Don was hesitant but, to his credit, allowed me to jump in on the pivot class after I assured him that I knew enough and learned quickly enough that I thought I could handle the class. I survived the night and continued to show up for shag class for another two and a half years, eventually taking part in the shag class dance team. Don, Bonnie and Madeline were always generous with their time to help me develop my dancing during those years, as have so many others since, including Gene & Nancy Pope, Sam & Lisa West, Charlie Womble & Jackie McGee, Ellen Taylor and Judy Duke to name a few. Bonnie even asked me to help her teach a class in 2002 and I found a new love … teaching others. In partnership with Bonnie Sanderson Rhodes, Tammy Horton, Melanie Milone Cooper and, most of all, the incredibly talented Brandi Dockery, I have been able to share my passion for beach music and the shag with countless others. It’s difficult to express the appreciation I have for those along the way, who recognized that passion in me and took the time to develop it. A bit of you is shared with each and every student we teach!

  5. My first cousin, Linda Thompson Weavil needed a hand to hold while she practiced, so I learned the basic in MaMa’s living room while being Linda’s “door knob”. About 10 or so at the time. I learned the real stuff much later from Charlie Womble with strong input from Mike Pace, Jackie McGee and Judy Bazemore Eastwood. Plus so many others offered tremendous input. I was lucky to have so much help. But when in doubt of something I had been shown and for putting it all together, Charlie was the one.
    Bo Gilbert “The Webguy” thanks for starting this discussion. I hope to hear from some of my students and sure hope other instructors and shag helpers hear from their students as well.
    And Bo, thanks for my website!!! You truly are my … THE Webguy.

    • This thread has gone in many directions and I saw quite a few posts with “Don Bunn” in the comments. I always enjoyed the Monday and Tuesday Nights at Reds during that time in my life.

  6. My daddy taught me how to shag. Then I took lesson’s from Jane Cole at the North Myrtle Beach Rec Center. I always went back to the way my daddy taught me <3

  7. My Dad! On Johnnie Mercers Pier in Wrightsville Beach! 1963 – there was a jukebox on the lower side of the pier. The local teens would always dance there. He would take me and my younger sister there to teach us. I believe now that he was actually teaching the “Bop” steps, but it started me in the right direction! Thanks, Dad—

  8. Took lessons from Chris and Paula Aiken in Greenville, SC at Dockers . 10 weeks of basic and more. 1999.

  9. My wife and I attended Jeppy McDowell’s Tuesday group lesson at Fat Harolds
    My wife got it right away but I needed a lot more work so we bought
    videos by Charlie and Jackie and Sam West.
    We live in York , Pa so we did not have a venue to work on what we learned
    We do get to MB every three months, so as time passed we got more and more confident to
    get out on the dance floors.
    It’s been 10 years since that lesson with Jeppy. Now we get compliments from local shaggers
    on how well we Shag and they find it hard to believe that we live in Pa. and rarely get to dance.

  10. My daddy taught me to shag in our living room at a very young age. Danced for many years before I realized he had taught me to shag doing the man’s step. Switched over to female steps with no problem. Love beach music and love to shag.

  11. I don’t remember anyone teaching me how to shag before I walked in to Red’s Beach Club and signed up for Shag Lessons with Don Bunn!


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