What is Collegiate Shag?

Collegiate Shag is a lively high-energy swing dance that developed in southern USA (most likely New Orleans) in the 1920s, and was made popular by college students, hence the name “collegiate”. Full of hops and kicks, and danced to medium or fast tempos, it has a style that is recognisably ‘jitterbug’. It is danced in a closed position hold, similar to most ballroom dances, but also includes open and separating elements.

In its most popular form today, it has a 6-beat basic step that has a “slow, slow, quick-quick” rhythm similar to Fox Trot. This form is sometimes called Double Shag (because of the two “slow” steps), but there are also Single and Triple forms of Collegiate Shag. There are other dances known as “shag” dances, including Carolina Shag and St Louis Shag, but these are vastly different.