The word “shag” in the name of this song refers to the dance called the Carolina Shag, which is a relaxed partner dance, often done to “beach music” – whatever that is… I named this song for it, because that’s the feeling of the song – it’s got a steady beat for dancing to, and distinct breaks in the arrangement of the parts so that the dancers can take a second to move into position for the next set of steps. But in the end, I realized you can dance just about anything to this. It even works with the Argentine Tango, because of the wide sweeps that the dancers make with their feet. It’s just a kind of easy-going, light music.
A Little Light Music
It came about because of the theme of this album, which is my memories of some of my favourite things from long ago. Before I got caught up in the hectic whirl of a corporate career, I did a little ballroom dancing. I belonged to a club – I don’t think it exists any more – and had a young, lithe and limber teacher for a partner. He used to complain that my hips weren’t, well, sexy enough for the Latin dances like the Rumba, Samba and Cha-cha. The British writer George Bernard Shaw did actually define dancing as;
“…the perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.”
That could be true for just about any dance: the first waltzes were seen as scandalously intimate (good grief, they touched each other! All the time!) and the Tango was deemed to be absolutely outrageous. And then the Twist came in (oh my sainted aunty, the waggling bums!) And so it went, every time a new dance craze took off. Mr. Shaw had probably hit the nail on the head, though.
I often stared (very closely) at my dance partner, who was as polished as mirror-sheen ebony and very handsome indeed, and thought that my husband would never be quite this much…connected to me, notably at the hips, in public. As a result, my hips just wouldn’t gyrate.
However, I did better on the ballroom dances, like the Foxtrot, Waltz and Two-step. In fact, I was quite good at the Foxtrot. I never could get the hang of the Tango, though. It was just too regimented, what with that iron hold, tight-as-a-bow stance and jerky moves. Later on, I learned a bit of the Argentine Tango which is much more relaxed and natural. But the Argentine Tango is really a dance for lovers, because you have to actually intertwine your legs.
But ballroom dancing was a long time ago, when I was young and skinny and could deal with the fact that dancing is also an exhausting sport.
So, when I got a little toe-tapping tune in my head, I built this song around it. I found, to my satisfaction when I was making the music video, that the steps and the rhythm of quite a few dances forms, the Argentine Tango, the Carolina Shag, Hip-hop, etc., could synchronize with the music.
The song has a repeated phrase, like an arpeggio, which is when the dancers would be doing the sideways twisting move that you get in the Argentine Tango. At those moments in the video, the dress of the dancer in the photo, above, swirls out like a flower that’s blossoming.