North vs South

In April this year I created the Facebook Group “Collegiate Shag UK”. My thinking was to bring together everyone who had an interest in Shag and to build a little momentum behind promoting our favourite dance and giving a forum where people could post clips, advertise events, and generally act as hub for all UK Collegiate Shag activities.

I set about doing a little research as to where the regular Shag classes were, so I could attempt some targeted advertising for the new group.  I decided I would only focus on the regular classes rather than adhoc workshops as they would be the areas where the dance was either thriving or there were like-minded  people who loved the dance enough to want to go out and teach others on a regular basis.

Collegiate Shag UK Map

To be honest, I’m still quite shocked not only by the small number of regular Shag classes but also by their locations. Seems like you’re hard pressed to get a Shag class anywhere above Birmingham.  In fact if it wasn’t for Paul & Fae from Rug-Cutters then the situation would be even worse with the most Northerly city having nearby regular Shag lessons being Gloucester. Yep Gloucester! The great bastion of the North…

There’s Lindy Hop from Plymouth to Edinburgh so what happened to Collegiate Shag. The great Northern dance, clogging, is not that far removed from Shag styling with all the action below the waist; so why aint there more Shag up North? Come on people I’d love to know….


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7 Responses to North vs South

  1. Well, you know what they say, out of mighty Oak trees, little acorns grow. Or something. I’m currently working on my own theories on the reasons behind the Shag-phobic nature of the North, but until I publish my thesis on the subject, we should just remind ourselves of how new Lindy itself is in our little outpost compared with the relative Lindy Mecca’s of the likes of Gloucester… if we want some workshops in our immediate locale, then we (and by we, I mean a half-dozen core organisers) basically have to put them on ourselves, in that there is no well-established local Swing scene outside of our core gang. Likewise, I like to think that if anyone really wanted weekly Shag classes in our area before now then they would have done something about it, vis a vis organising them themselves (which they obviously haven’t). To be perfectly honest, I’m still fairly new to swing dance in general (just over four years, and eve with that limited experience I’ve been doing it longer than pretty much anyone else in Hull) and it’s taken me about this long to get my head around basic Lindy. I’m now at the stage where I’d like to expand my perameters a bit… In light of this, I do intend to rise to your challenge to try and get some regular Shag thing going round here. I love it, several people I know love it, and hopefully that should be enough to get it off the ground in the same way that we got Lindy off the ground in Hull.

    Just as soon as the relevant authorities wangle it so that there are eight days in a normal week (unfortunately, I still have to work for a living on the few nights when I’m not dancing).

  2. I nearly forgot to mention, we are (collectively) Team Hull, AKA Kingston Swing, Lindy Hop (and its related forms…) in East Yorkshire.

  3. Dai says:

    Cheers Bruce, I think that’s all is needed; enough people who love the dance enough (any style) like yourself to promote and ultimately teach.Sharon and I are only into our 3rd month of teaching, and started simply because there was no one else doing it locally.. I know you and your group are doing a great job for Lindy and hopefully you can do the same for Collegiate Shag. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think you were/are behind Hullzapoppin. That has to be one of the greatest names for a dance weekend ever. How about a Shag workshop or two in your next one?

  4. Well, you can stick a pin (or a half a pin at least) into Hull now, as of last Monday we began teaching Shag on our regular Monday night sessions, albeit in a micro-format… we’re doing a fifteen minute ‘refresher and move of the week’ thing in between the Lindy classes as part of our ongoing commitment ‘to promote Swing dance in all its related forms’, with a view to just keeping it in everyones memory and spread the word a bit. A recap of the basic footwork, and hopefully a new move or variation each week, we’ll hopefully be taking it in turns to come up with new stuff which should inspire folk to research it a bit themselves. On top of this, we’ll also be mixing Shag into the regular lesson rotation (in much the same way as we incorporate 20’s Charleston, jig kicks and the like) and definitely be doing follow-up workshops (with guest teachers… make your intentions clear now!).

    And yes indeedy, we are indeed behind Hullzapoppin’… we had hoped to get Nicky and Jim to come teach at Hullzaoppin’ 2012 and bring the Shag with them, but unfortunately work commitments have scuppered that one, so hopefully they can make the next one and come and do a workshop for us before that as well.

    Hooray for us!!!

    • Dai says:

      Hooray indeed!! I think your 15 minute approach is a brilliant idea. Keep the Shag flag flying dude, and I’ll update the map 🙂
      If you’re looking for guest Shag teachers, keep us in mind

      • Lil Steph says:

        Hm, this is really interesting. I’ve only been dancing Lindy 2.5 years, and it’s just recently a lot of things are starting to click with my dancing, so I get the ‘wow I just did something cool! and exciting’ feeling over the ‘seriously, what the hell am I doing?’ feeling. I remember doing a Shag taster ages ago before the monthly Moortown dances in Leeds stopped, and I hated it. Just couldn’t get my mind around it. But then I did a taster at GNSH this weekend and whilst it’s hard, I’m interested by the style. I thought it would be difficult to find a regular class, but didn’t expect that my only option would be Ashton or Oldham about once every 6-8 weeks. One of our newbies has really got excited by the Shag taster and wants to do more which I think is great, so it’s a shame there’s a lack of any real scene. Then again, balboa didn’t have much scene 2 years ago – and now look at it.
        Overall I’m undecided if I want to learn it to a good standard, but still going to organise a mini trip to ashton for those who want to, next time Backstep Boogie Club are teaching it.
        Bruce – you were in the class at GNSH, but some of us had to go before I got to you in the follow round. It would be awesome if you wanted to do a taster or workshop in Leeds sometime and see if there is any interest to be generated (or if it’s just going to be me and the one lead muttering ‘slow, slow, quickquick, slow, slow’ under our breath and getting confused)…

      • Dai says:

        Keep an eye out for Northern Shag classes by signing up to . But you’re right, lessons up North are pretty infrequent which is a real shame. But saying that when we started about 4 years ago there were no lessons around us either so there’s still hope 🙂

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