a. When was the Club started? The Richmond Shag Club was founded by a small group of lovers of shag, bop and other forms of swing dance in 1986. The Club joined the Association of Carolina Shag Clubs (ACSC) in 1987. Initially the Club throughout its history has met at hotel-hosted nightclubs along the Midlothian Turnpike Corridor; first at DJs in what is now the Richmond Inn & Suites, then it moved to Club Razzles in the Best Western + Governor's Inn and in 2007, we moved to our current location in Visions in the Doubletree Inn by Hilton (formerly operated as a Holiday Inn Select until 2014).
b. Who belongs the Richmond Shag Club? The Club currently has over 350 members, with a mixture of married couples, dating couples, long-time single friends, and Club newcomers, both as singles and in couples. Our average membership age is over 40, but we have members in their 20's as well as active retirees. What brings and holds this diverse group together is the enjoyment of good times, good company, and good music.
c. I don't dance, so why should I join? You don't have to dance to have fun with this group. You do you like to have fun, don't you? You enjoy the company of people who like to have fun, don't you? Do you enjoy listening to Carolina beach music, rhythm & blues and contemporary music with a good beat? Do you like to socialize and work with other people on community service projects for worthy causes? Maybe you're looking for someone to share your life outside of the Club...the RSC is a safe and relaxing place to mingle and meet new people. Several of our couples met at the Club or through their membership in the Shag Club. You will also learn about fun parties and other events outside of Richmond and make friends that might help share travel or shelter costs and provide travel companionship.
d. Who can I talk to for more information? Any of the members of the Board of Directors are happy to speak with or answer questions from people considering joining or wanting to know more about the Club, the Shag, etc. Click here to go to our Board Contacts page, where you can send an e-mail with your questions to any of the Board members.
e. Where is Visions? Is it safe for a single person, man or woman? Visions is located in the Doubletree Inn by Hilton Hotel at 1023 Koger Center Blvd (off Midlothian Tpke) in Chesterfield Co. (Click here to see a map and get driving directions). The parking lot is well lit and anyone with security concerns can get a Club member to walk with them to their car.
e. What does it cost to join? The current annual Club dues cost $30.00. Considering the long list of Club benefits (Click here for more), it's a bargain!
2. Shag- & Dance-related Questions:
a. What is the Shag? The Shag (or "Carolina Shag") is a member of the Swing dance family, related to the Lindy, the Jitterbug, the Bop, the East & West-Coast Swing, the Texas Swing, etc. Shag is traditionally a male lead and focus-oriented dance but has evolved into a step in which women can show off and call a step as well. The Shag is done dancing in a "slot", with the partners moving in accordian fashion, rather than in a circle or side-to side. The Shag is distinct from many of the Swing dances because of more intricate footwork and the overall smoothness and flow which gives the dance (when done well, of course) a graceful, effortless look.
b. Does everybody at the Club do the Shag? What about other steps? Some of our members and guests also do the Bop, some jitterbug, some hybrid Bop/jitterbug, some West Coast Swing, some line dances (e.g. Tush Push, Continental, Bus Stop, Electric Slide, etc.) and even some Cha-Cha. Our instruction program focuses however on the Carolina Shag and selected shag-related line dances.
c. I'm a terrible dancer, even though I enjoy it...who would want to dance with me? The RSC is first and foremost a social organization and every dancer on the floor, not matter how good, remembers the embarassing early years when they had 2 left feet. You will find that everyone is approachable and we all have fun, regardless of ability!
d. Is the Shag difficult to learn? When are the Shag lessons & how much are they? The Shag got started by creative, energetic dancers with a good sense of rhythm who played and improvised to move with the music. The Shag today offers a challenge to dancers at any level, but learning it is easy with our Club instructors who can break down steps into easy-to-learn sequences. Our FREE Beginner Shag Lessonsare offered most Thursday nights, in a 4 week series that usually starts the first Thursday of each month. (Click here to see the 2014 Shag lesson schedule). Intermediate classes are offered on Tuesday nights to Club members or for $25.00 for the four class series for non-members. Our dance lesson program alone is worth the cost of annual membership...some clubs charge twice as much just for lessons! Plus the Club offers extra free workshops (i.e. "Shag Jams"), typically on the first Sunday of the month.
e. I'm a single person...do I need a partner for the lessons or to come out on Club night? In any given class there may be a few more men than women or women than men, but the instructors make a real effort to see that everybody gets a chance to practice and learn the step and learn to dance with different partners, just to make tham a better "social dancer". On Tuesday club nights, there are always unattached men and women to dance and a beginner (man or woman) doesn't need to be shy about asking someone to dance!
f. I don't like a crowded dance floor.....I like room to move around and "show off" when I dance. Could I have fun at the Club? The best time for more floor space on Tuesdays is from 6:30 to 7:30 and from 9:30 to 10:30. If you really like to show-off, the Club is always looking for good dancers comfortable with being the focus of attention to represent the Club in amateur competitions throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast. In fact, for those who like to compete, there is a "Competitive Shaggers Association" which endorses judged competitions. Several of our instructor couples are members of the CSA, at the Amateur, Novice and Professional levels and several of them offer private shag lessons for those that really want to develop their dance for competition.
g. I/my partner am/is too self-conscious or my/our schedule doesn't accomodate attending group workshops offered on the schedule from the Club, are private lessons available? Some of our instructors offer private lessons by appointment in their homes or at your home. Contact the Club's Dance Committee Chair for referrals to these instructors. This year (2014), Kenn Ward is the point of contact, firstname.lastname@example.org