Shag Dancing – Leading Your Partner
Touch, Pull, Push Lightly, Please!
By MoJo Randy Sherrill
Hello from MoJo Randy Sherrill, “The Shagging DJ”. The Shagging DJ became a part of my title because I love to shag probably more than most of you and even when DJing I am on the dance floor a good bit.
I took shag lessons around 10 years ago in 2013. Pat and Archer Joyce were my instructors in Greensboro, NC. The very first day Archer told the group to get in a circle and he was going to play a few seconds of several songs and we were to close our eyes and pat a foot to the beat of the music. My first thought was I am going to be kicked out before I ever get started. I did not think I had any rhythm at all. But to my surprise I passed the test.
Since that day shagging has been my favorite activity. I try to learn steps and moves that I can lead a lady into without much confusion on her part. I have been told by many ladies that I am a great lead! At first I did not understand what this meant. Then over time I started watching other couples dance. As I watched I observed something. It was my opinion that men needed to learn not only how to shag but also how to lead a lady. During this time I also had many ladies tell me of their stories of how guys have jerked their arm so hard that it hurt while trying to get them to follow their lead and some situations where guys complain to the lady that she did not follow his lead. I believe the following saying came from my instructors. This is what I tell ladies when a guy complains about her not following his lead, she should just say I did not feel any lead!
Shag is a man’s dance, so we men need to learn how to lead a lady without jerking or strongly pulling her arm off or getting onto ladies for not following your lead. If your lead is a good lead most ladies will be able to follow you. I have danced with many ladies who have never had a shag lesson or only one or two lessons who were able to follow my lead even with steps they have never done before.
Leading in shag is simple but at the same time it is difficult ! Simple implies that the man works at getting the lady where he wants her to go and which way he wants her to turn. The difficulty in leading is the lady has to understand what you want her to do without hurting or confusing her. If you want a lady to go a certain way you as the leader must lightly touch, pull and push the lady so she will know that you are wanting her to go a certain way. If your lead is done correctly no one will see what you are doing to get your partner to go the way you desire. It will appear that you and your partner are speaking to each other telepathically. But your touches, pulls and pushes, which are so light, that no one can see how you two are communicating and the lady is not getting hurt as you try to lead her. As I shag, I may touch my partner on the shoulder to lead her in the direction that I am lightly directing her. Or while pulling into the pivot or other steps where I want my partner to come towards me, I may just pull a little stronger without any jerking. The leader must think in his head where he wants the lady to go and then touch, pull or push her lightly in that way. I guess the question is, if I was the lady, how would I know by the leads where to go and how to turn?
Just today as I was eating lunch with several friends a lady told me how two different guys recently jerked her while dancing so hard it hurt. I take pride in leading ladies so that they can’t ever talk about me hurting them while we were dancing. Let’s go guys, lets work on our lead so that the ladies will enjoy dancing with us more. Remember “Touch, Pull, Push Lightly, Please”!
MoJo Randy Sherrill