Having started with social dancing to music spanning the 20's to the mid 60's our curiosity led us to investigate other dances from these periods.
Around 1996 Shannon became a dance partner to a leading Historian on American Dance. We have studied first hand with some of the masters and began performing and teaching these dances on a regular basis.
Today we are known mostly for 1930’s swing dances namely Collegiate Shag dances from the 1930's, The Big Apple, The Little Apple, Peelin’ The Peach as well as Charleston, Bop, Lindy-Hop and 1950s jitterbug. However, we dance and have perform dances from the 1900’s through the mid 1960s dances such as The Castle Walk, Turkey Trot, Cake Walk, The Grizzly Bear, Varsity Drag, Raccoon, Madison and a host of other 20th century fad dances.
The Charleston, the biggest dance craze of all time became a sensation after the appearing in the 1923 Broadway Revue “Runnin’ Wild”. Since then this early jazz dance has seen several resurgences and has become an iconic part of the 1920s.
Shannon learned Charleston in the 1970s. Shannon and Bill teach authentic 1920’s Charleston steps as they would have been danced in the early 20s – to syncopated 2-beat Charleston rhythm.
The origins of this unique swing dance are unknown, but sources suggest that Heel-shag dates to the 1930s. It had a mini resurgence in the 1950s and again in the 1990s when Lance Benishek began teaching it in the Twin Cities and across the country.
It is a versatile dance which can be adapted for many styles of music including swing, blues, rockabilly, and even funk. Although it is a “Shag” it is unrelated to 30’s Shag (Collegiate), St. Louis Shag or Carolina Shag. Shannon has been teaching this dance since the 1990s.
At the end of the Ragtime Era a group of dances for blues music evolved called “low-down dancing” among them was the Black Bottom. In mid-20’s Black Bottom was danced to faster Jazz music after it was adapted for the Broadway stage and popularized in George White’s Scandals of 1926. Several moves were later incorporated into the wildly popular Charleston. Shannon specializes in the pre-1926 styling.
Big Apple originated in Columbia, South Carolina, in the 1930s. It is often considered the 3rd biggest dance craze of all time. It is a called dance, done in a circle to big-band swing music using swing steps. Shannon has studied, performed and taught with Betty Henderson Wood one of the original Big Apple Dancers who debuted the dance on Broadway in 1938 and Lance Benishek, who is known to have the most comprehensive Big Apple dance research collection to date. Shannon has been dancing, teaching, performing Big Apple since 1997.
This 8-count swing dance is dynamic and fun! It grew out of the Charleston in the late 1920s and has been evolving ever since. It is an original swing dance. Shannon has been teaching Lindy-hop since the 1990s.
The origins of Collegiate Shag are not that clear and continue to be researched. What is known is that it was danced in the late 1930s to big band swing. There are 3 main types of 30’s Collegiate Shag – Single, Double and Triple time CollegiateShag. We teach them all.
Was originally referred to as “Carolina Shag" by the dancers of the era. It is unrelated to the Carolina Shag of today. It was danced in the South in the 1930s and is considered a predecessor to the more common double time Collegiate Shag. Shannon studied, and taught with Betty Henderson Wood an Original Carolina Shag dancer of the era and Lance Beneshek.
This is a dynamic dance from the late 1930s danced to big band
swing, western swing or traditional jazz. It is known for it’s fast footwork and unusual holds. There are several variations of double-time collegiate shag including standard shag and Arthur Murray Shag. We can teach you multiple variations on the basic step pattern, core moves up to advance moves. We’ll teach you the technique to make your collegiate shag dancing as smooth or energetic as you’d like, and the technique to lead collegiate shag moves -not just memorize patters.
Shannon’s grandparents were shag dancers and grew up seeing her grandparents dance. Shannon has been dancing, teaching, performing Shag since 1997, and nationally since 2001 including the Advanced Collegiate Shag class at Camp Hollywood in 2001.
Shannon and Bill teach a variety of 1950s vintage styles e.g. Rockabilly Style & Bandstand Swing as well as more contemporary variations of this popular dance. 6-count swing is another dance Shannon learned as a child in the 1970s and has been dancing it ever since. She has been teaching it since the mid 1990s
This was a called line dance done to Motown music. It is a fun dance to know and to perform at 1950’s themed events. We’ll teach you the authentic steps and some variations to the steps to spice up your dancing.
There are a variety of Bop styles and Shannon and Bill teach several of them. These authentic 1950’s dances are nearly all footwork based. They are particularly useful as they can be danced solo or with a partner and make an excellent warm-up dance exercise and fast-footwork drills.