St. Louis Shag is coming to town
Have you heard of the new hype already? Or maybe you have seen it here or there? There is something new on the horizon. A new old dance style that isn’t really new but looks completely different from Collegiate Shag is rolling across the dance world:
What is St. Louis Shag?
St. Louis Shag evolved in the 1930s (we believe) from the Charleston and never died out in St. Louis. It is a fast dance, just like Collegiate Shag but very territorial. It´s symmetric basic consists of a triple step and a kick, followed of another triple step with a kick. Yes, this is an 8-count.
Several different basic steps can be used, depending on which old time Dancer you want to emulate. It is per se not a dance for itself, as the steps can be built into Collegiate Shag or your normal fast swing dancing. That is what- according to the old videos have been done.
Today Shagsters around the world treat it as a separate dance style as you can see in the video below from BCN Shag Festival in a pure St. Louis Shag Competition.
The Shag has remained a long tradition in St.Louis throughout the years. Still today it is not a rare sight on the dance floors of St Louis I have been told.
St. Louis Shag today
Back to the Roots
Dancers like Kenny Wetzel, Tommy Russo, Jim and Lorraine Byrnes and Eddie Plunkett together with Dottie were old timers who danced the St Louis Shag in a distinguished way and passed on their knowledge to the young generation. Luckily a few Youtube Videos with their appearance are still around today.
St Louis Shag Information on Wikipedia – which includes a few more links.
More valuable information and tricks can be found in several videos on this playlist:
Kenny Wetzel the fast dancer: start at 0:37
Watch how they all have their unique style and interpretation of the kick. Also, what seems to be predominant is that the St Louis Shag was not danced as separate strict style, but mixed into the normal fast swing dancing. St Louis Shag can be danced to Boogie and Stomp Music just the same and is generally danced at a minimum of about 180ppm.
Video Jim and Lorraine Byrnes with their particular accentuation of the kick.
Where can I learn St. Louis Shag?
The first option of course is : In St Louis. But hold it.. don´t leave – Luckily not only there!
Nowadays many Collegiate Shag Festivals offer St. Louis Tracks or Tasters. Sign up to a Shag Festival that has a St Louis Shag track and dance the night away. In this Collegiate Shag Group you can find festival locations and links.
And there is another alternative which you will find out below..
Tommy Russo showing the kick
Do you want to learn St Louis Shag?
Because I definitely caught fire with the St Louis Shag, I got the pros Jenny and Christian teaching me the important things to be able to show you the basics.
I dance around the world, visit many Swing Festivals and if I am in your town, do let me know. I will come to teach your community a Basic St Louis Shag Intro. Contact me here