Sunday, April 17, 2016

Shag lessons

A couple of weeks ago Kim had the bright idea that we needed to take some shag lessons.

She gets this idea every 15 years or so. This time, she learned that lessons were going to be given by Mark Tuttle at the Davidson County Recreation Department and wouldn't it be fun if we got our neighborhood friends together to take lessons with us?

Yeah, sure. Whatever.

I mean, we'd taken shag lessons twice previously in our married life together. The first time was about 20 years ago, and the second time was about 10 years after that. We'd learn a couple of nice moves, practice them, and then promptly forget them.

Don't get me wrong. I like to shag. It's a beautiful dance when it's done correctly and the music is spectacular: Miss Grace. Carolina Girls. Myrtle Beach Days. Stay. The list goes on and on.

Kim sent out an email to our friends about the lessons, but most were busy raising their own families (most are considerably younger than us wrinkled old codgers) and one by one had to decline the invite. Oh, well.

Anyway, I said, sure, let's go, it'll be fun.

Except about three days before the one-hour weekly lessons were to begin, I pulled a muscle in my left gluteus maximus while working out at the gym. I had a bum bum, and it was killing me. But I soldiered on.

The one thing that I'm not nuts about when taking shag lessons is that I quickly lose my intended partner. I feel most secure when I'm learning my steps with Kim, but every instructor we've had insists that we change partners halfway through learning the step. I'm not quite sure why this is because I'm pretty sure when I do learn the dance, Kim's pretty much going to be my permanent partner anyway.

So, whenever Mark shouted, "Men, to the right," I'd hobble over to my new date, grimacing the whole time. I hoped that my new partner didn't think I was grimacing at her, but how do you tell a woman — a total stranger at that — that your butt hurts?

Then the music would start and I'd soldier on.

We just completed our four hours of beginner classes and Kim signed us up for four more intermediate sessions. So far, we've learned the lead in, the basic steps, the Female Underarm Turn, the Belt Loop, the Chase, the She-He Turn (which has nothing to do with HB2) and the Cuddle. Coming up next are steps like the Sugar Foot, the Sugar Push, the Belly Roll (sounds like a bakery run) and Swagger.

I'm still not sure how proficient I want to become at this. I don't want to end up wearing gold necklaces and bracelets, but being a passable shagger would be good.

The video below is of Charlie Womble and Jackie McGee, legends in the World of Shag. If there's a Shag Hall of Fame, I think they're charter members in it. They look like they're dancing on ice. What they do is ridiculous to us normal humans, but it gives us novices something to aspire to. Sit back and enjoy:

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