Swing Discussion Boards > Carolina Shag Class in OC, CA

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by DWise1, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Last night I had my first Carolina Shag class at Atomic Ballroom, Irvine. That was the first night that they held the class and it was well attended.

    Just mentioning it for the benefit of anyone who might be interested. We keep hearing about WCS having borrowed some steps from Shag, but no opportunity to learn it. It's the first time I've seen it taught in Orange County, Calif, since I started dancing in 2000. Except for their workshop earlier this year.

    Also, if you have Sirius XM, they're running a Carolina Shag station, channel 13.

    Share and enjoy!
  2. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Cool, I often go to Atomic, though I used to live on the EC and had some lessons from Jackie Womble. Long time ago. I should try it if they do it again.
  3. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    It's a regular weekly class every Friday at 6:15PM. And next week they're starting a practice room on Sunday nights, I think at 8:30PM. They have started a closed group on Facebook, Atomic Ballroom Carolina Shag Club.

    They started the first class by showing a video so we could see what Carolina Shag looks like. It was Jackie McGee and Charlie Womble from 2013 on YouTube at


    I go way back with Atomic from when the previous owner opened it. The current owner, Shesha Marvin, was one of my first dance teachers when I started taking Lindy from him in 2003. It's been a few years since I'd been at Atomic, so this marks my return.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2017
  4. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Talking about Atomic Ballroom, does this sound familiar?

    Before Shesha's ownership, at a Lindy event I was talking with a young-ish Chinese woman whose mother had danced back Lindy "in the day." For that matter, on another night she brought her mother along and I danced with her a couple times.

    Her mother was shocked at the kids dancing now. "You are crazy! You dance every dance! You're going to wear yourselves out!"

    I think that reflects a difference in attitudes and in what dance means to us. "Back in the day", most everybody danced and it was just a part of normal social life. You'd go to a dance, socialize a bit, dance a dance, socialize more for a couple/few songs, dance again, always pacing yourself with the dances. That was that woman's mother's experience.

    I think that the change happened within half a decade both ways of 1970. When dancing stopped being a social activity and more a spectator sport. Of course, I'm sure that others who lived that period more directly can set us straight on the facts.

    Now the goal is the dancing itself. We are working on learning this dance, so we go to dances in order to practice that dance. So we dance as often as we can. Before, the goal was to socialize using dancing as part of that process, now the goal is to dance with no thought about socializing.

    Is it just me?
  5. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Well, one big difference today is there is a shortage of events with live music. I would expect people used to spend a little time appreciating the live music. Then venues were larger, with tables where people would congregate and talk. At a place like Atomic (and most dance studios), there really isn't much room to do much else except dance.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  7. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Of course, I don't get out that much. But I have been to dances to live performances. At those, I also saw the same basic patterns as with DJ'd events. I don't think that that is really a factor.

    Going back to basics, dancing is a social activity. When I was an early teenager in the early/mid-1960's, our families (us and my oldest sister's in-laws) would get together and they would start dancing (I was too young to know how and cannot now remember what they were doing). Dancing was a basic social activity.

    I guess it was with my generation (born 1951, graduated 1969) that the disconnect happened. Somebody else placed it far earlier, in the 1950's when Elvis came around. Before then, all ages enjoyed the same popular music, but then with rock-and-roll different age groups diverged in their musical tastes. All I know is that you were just expected to know how to move to the music with no preparation at all.

    Basically, people just no longer grew up learning that social skill of dancing.

    So now people are seeking out and learning those skills, as well as reconstructing dances that had died out (eg, Lindy).

    That is the difference that I see. "Back in the day", people had already learned how to dance, so their motivation at dances was the socializing. Now people are trying to learn how to dance, so their main motivation at dances is to practice what they've been studying.

    Once everybody has learned how to dance, then the difference between live and DJ'd music can make itself be felt. But are we there yet?
    flying_backwards likes this.

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