People in the Lake Norman area and beyond who enjoy the dance of the Carolinas have long been able to shag dance and socialize on a regular basis at parties organized by Twisters Shag Club.
The long-gone Twisters Bar and Dance Club in Cornelius was the first venue in this area to host the group, reports Twisters Shag Club co-founder Mike Rink, a resident of Cornelius.
For the past year, the Finish Line Restaurant and Lounge in Mooresville has lent space to the club. It’s connected to George Pappas Victory Lanes at 125 Morlake Drive.
“The Finish Line is the best venue we’ve ever had for our weekly dances,” said Rink. “The large space contains a dance floor and plenty of tables and chairs, and the parking lot is large and safe.”
Participants do not have to be members. There is acover charge of $3, which helps pay the disc jockey.
There is as much visiting going on as dancing. Folks like Marylee and Ken Kreamer, who show up on a regular basis, make friends here and catch up each week.
Ken explained that when they became empty nesters about three years ago, shag dancing lessons and bowling were activities he and his wife agreed to dive into.
The Kreamers have taken three series of lessons, said Ken. He reports that they took the Beginner II course twice to learn a variety of moves and turns. At first a reluctant participant in lessons, he now embraces the dance and the club activities.
Twisters Shag Club organizes plenty of opportunities to socialize beyond the weekly dances – golf, bowling, bus trips, and parties at locations on the lake as well as in North Myrtle Beach during popular mid-winter, spring and fall gatherings of shag dancers who flock there from several states.
Most notably, each year for 24 years, Twisters has run a major, multi-day shag dance party – the Fall Cyclone. Held in Mooresville each November, it draws more than 800 participants and has repeatedly earned recognition as “The Shag Club Event of the Year” by the Carolina Beach Music Awards.
Rink, who has chaired the Fall Cyclone for years, spends many days preparing for and running it. In addition, countless hours of help for this project are volunteered by many of the 80 to 100 Twisters Shag Club members.
Mimi Hooker, for example, lent many hours before and during the 2014 event. She said, “It’s a lot of work, but I had fun doing it.”
Rink promises that for the 25th anniversary of Fall Cyclone, Twisters Shag Club will deliver “its most awesome event.”
Not only does Twisters Shag Club produce the Fall Cyclone, but also – through 2010 – the club was tapped every fifth year by the Association of Carolina Shag Clubs host to the multi-day Winter Workshop Meeting and Dance, Rink said.
Throughout the year, Twisters Shag Club offers dance lessons in Mooresville. The current instructors are Ashley and Tobitha Stewart, dance professionals who compete nationally as well as regionally.
Many people join the club after taking the lessons, Rink said.
The next series of group classes begins Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m. for beginners, and 8:30 p.m. for those who have taken Beginner I or know how to shag but want to learn more. No partner is necessary; volunteers from the club membership help out on the dance floor. A flat fee of $35 for the six-week class is paid at the start and includes one buffet meal. The location is Fat Boys restaurant, 114 Days Inn Drive. (From I-77, take Exit 36.)
Carolina shag is primarily about footwork. This type of swing-dance adheres to a six-count beat. The style differs from the better-known jitterbug/lindy. DJs or live bands play music that is slower (115 to 130 beats per minute). Partners try to dance along an imaginary, straight track; bouncing is frowned upon. A skilled leader (usually the male) is likely to show off fancy footwork while the partner performs the basic step or mirrors the leader’s moves.
The dance is performed to a variety of genres of music such as country, beach and rhythm and blues.