CHARLOTTE, NC — A dance club in the heart of Southwest Charlotte attracts dozens of people ready to learn the “Carolina Shag” every week.
What do you want to know
- Lynn’s Dance Club hosts “Carolina Shag” parties, classes, and beach music hosted by a DJ
- Shag dancing is believed to have originated in the 1940s and 50s on the beaches of South Carolina
- Those interested in learning to dance can check the Lynn’s Dance Club website for a schedule of upcoming beginner classes.
Lynn’s Dance Club hosts shag parties, classes, and DJ beach music.
It’s one of many places in North Carolina, but the most popular in Charlotte, where people can learn upbeat dancing.
Nikki Kontoulas grew up in the world of shag dancing. She watched her parents and their friends dance through the Carolinas.
“My mother taught me to dance,” Kontoulas said. “I was never into it when I was younger, but I saw people my age doing it when I was a kid and I was like, ‘That’s kinda cool, that’s not just an old thing.
Kontoulas gives dance lessons at Lynn’s. She also competes in statewide and national shag competitions and is inducted into the Beach Shagger’s Hall of Fame as a dance guardian.
“Just the connection you get, the bond you create with people is a lot of fun,” Kontoulas said. “It’s right above the music, and you can have an entire conversation on the dance floor without saying a word.”
Shag dancing is believed to have originated in the 1940s and 1950s on the beaches of South Carolina.
Couples dance to rhythm and blues beach music while focusing on their feet.
“The guy always starts on his left, the lady always starts on her right foot and you want to look like a mirror image of an accordion going back and forth,” Kontoulas said.
The Charlotte Shag Club began at Lynn’s approximately 35 years ago.
Generations of shaggers have passed through its doors, and there are even reserved seats for VIPs.
But you don’t have to be a shag legend to get in.
“It’s a great gathering of people of all ages,” Kontoulas said. “It may look like some of the older crowd…it’s all generations of people coming together to dance and have fun.”
Kontoulas admits there is a growing generational gap in the community.
Holding basic classes at Lynn’s, Kontoulas tries to reach over twenty and thirty in hopes of keeping the dance alive, especially as her parents’ generation ages.
“It was their fun and their getaway,” Kontoulas said. “And it’s my pleasure, and it’s my getaway to come dance, and we hope to continue that tradition.”
Those interested in learning to dance the “Carolina Shag” can check the Lynn’s Dance Club website for a schedule of upcoming beginner classes.