Collegiate Shag: Getting “Behind” A Misconception
In my travels across the United States one of the interesting misconceptions I have run into when chatting people about Collegiate Shag is that the proper posture is with ones’ butt or “fanny” out. The baffling thing to myself is I know the majority of people who teach Collegiate Shag in the United States and as far as I know, none of these individuals say this in their lessons.
Source of “Fanny Out” Opinion
It’s reasonable to see where their opinion may have stemmed from, this stylistic choice is featured in a few vintage clips. The two clips that stick out the most to me is here at the 1:35 mark in the 1943 clip from “The Powers Girl” and here at the 1:02 mark in this clip from the 1940 clip from “Mad Youth”.
In addition Ray Hirsch, a legendary shag dancer even mentions in an interview by CollegiateShag.com , “Then Shag came along. It had its own little interpretation. You put your fanny out […]” when talking about the dance. Even Kenny Nelson and Tiffany Wine in the Camp Hollywood 2009 Shag finals had that style choice as part of their double rhythm basic .
Why a Misconception?
My main counterpoint is this, there are clips (vintage and modern) that feature dancers who do not have their butt or “fanny” out when they dance Collegiate Shag. Example of one vintage clip without this styling is the Arthur Murry instructional video.
I view sticking ones “fanny” out as a valid style choice within the dance, however not as something that is seen as mandatory when attempting to stay within the aesthetic of it.
However I consider myself far from an authority on this subject. If anyone with more experience would like to chime in, your opinion or any information you have on the matter would be appreciated.