The 1995 NVSC Board of Directors picked up the ball, ran with it, and the club took off. The officers were:
The Board of Directors and the club members teamed together enthusiastically to promote the NVSC, Carolina Shag, and Beach Music. Membership began to soar. Donna, Pauline and Patricia asked almost everyone they met everywhere they went: “Do you shag?” “Have you heard of beach music?” “Oh, yes” was often the response, “I know about the Beach Boys.”
Much of the local area had yet to learn about Carolina Shag. At the end of the year 1995, however, the club had 211 members. Membership consisted of dancers, not just from VA, DC and MD, but also from states to the North and South. Visitors came from other cities and states. Many people, it seemed, wanted to join the club. Something special was happening here. Excitement was palpable. It could be felt. It could be smelled. It was in the air and everywhere. It seemed to stem from leadership and teamwork… members all working for the same purpose…to promote Carolina Shag and Beach Music.
The local dance establishment had been introduced to beach music by this time, and the previously independent D.C. Hand Dance and West Coast Swing communities crossed over to engage with Carolina Shag and Beach Music. It was quite exciting to have shag’s compelling, energizing, gut-wrenching, wonderful beach music bring together these three distinct styles of dance. It was exciting to share the floor and the music with swing and hand dancers.
On February 11, Larry and Shirley Jones presented a shag workshop on style and technique at the Juke Box Café. They amazed and inspired everyone with their beautiful, graceful ability to dance.
In February, the dance location moved from the Juke Box because management proposed changing the dance night from Wednesday to Tuesday. Blackie’s Restaurant, Déjà Vu Room, in Springfield (now demolished) welcomed back the NVSC, and Blackie’s once again became home to the Northern Virginia Shag Club. President Charlie Price arranged for the club deejay, Bert Nelbach, to move with the club from the Juke Box to Blackie’s. Bert was paid $50 per night by Blackie’s management to play for the club.
Also in February, Rick Hendrix compiled a list of the top tunes that made him feel like dancin’:
The NVSC began to receive notice and acclaim from the larger, old-time shag community of the Southeast. Southern deejays came north to introduce the variety, richness and depth of Beach Music, and Shag dance instructors came from the South to teach technique and new steps.
Susie Beaver taught shag workshops at Blackie’s on June 10, 1995. She brought Calvin Wade and 14-year-old Nikki Kontoulis with her as teaching assistants. The workshops were well attended by Shaggers from Richmond and Virginia Beach shag clubs, as well as our own membership. That evening we danced with Susie and company at a little place called Checkers, at Holiday Inn, Tyson’s Corner.
On a whim, Patricia Parrott wrote to the editors of The Washington Post suggesting that they might want to look into this new dance club that potentially, she offered, could be of interest to the Post’s readers. They did take notice, and featured The Northern Virginia Shag Club with a written article and photo in the October 22, 1995, Sunday Edition, Style Section.
(NOTE: My photo was chosen was not because I was favored or a better dancer, but because I happened to be wearing light colored clothing that night. I was lucky and pleased to represent the club this way. Bill, on the other hand was both: wearing a light colored jacket and a better dancer.)
Nowadays, the preservation of Shag and Beach Music is a given due to the publication of shag videos and books. It will not likely fade again as it did in the 60’s and 70’s. But back in the early and mid-90’s its permanence was not that certain. For several years, the focus had been on doing whatever was necessary to ensure that Carolina Shag gain status and prevail as a specific dance. Keeping the NVSC afloat under those conditions was an enormous, grand, and united effort. The NVSC Board of Directors, regular members who faithfully attended every Wednesday night dance, and support of the ACSC and others in the dance community helped to make it happen. Correctly learning steps, style, and technique was the emphasis. Everyone had a strong desire to see NVSC make it, for the sheer fun, pleasure and enjoyment of dance, and also to preserve the dance and music as it expanded West and North.
To further promote the NVSC, Bill Hopkins, Chris Pax, Dan Shames and Janis Grimes spent precious time and effort learning the more difficult mirror steps. They were the first to go the competitive route and bring notice to NVSC (see below). Keith Abernathy and Donna Harrington did a better than notable job demonstrating the K.D. Mirror Step on Virginia Beach Shag Club’s instructional video. To boost the club’s financial status, Janis Grimes published a NVSC Cookbook and club members produced cassette tapes for sale. Promoting shag was a united effort.
Through the initiating efforts of Patricia Parrott, a video was made for viewing on local cable TV in Pinky O’Neill’s “Dancing Around” show. It featured a typical Wednesday night at Blackie’s. There was enough footage to make two 30-minute videos. Jones Communications of Reston aired Part I on February 18 and 20th, and part II was aired the first week in March. It was a showing of the general dancing being done at that time, and included some shag exhibitions, a little shag instruction and an explanation of Beach Music; however some of the true beauty of Carolina Shag was lost in the presentation due to the variation of dances represented at Blackie’s that night.
The club broadened its weekly dances to include Super Bowl parties, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Valentine parties and annual Christmas parties.
Always ready to limelight and plug Shag, a bunch of members attended the North Carolina Alumni Association’s April Beach Blast on Saturday, April 15th at St. Alban’s School Trophy Room. The deejay that night later helped put together enough beach music to make two cassette tapes that were sold for club profit. H.K. Lee designed the cover, a cute little guy with his shaggin’ shoes on.
President Charlie Price informed members of an interesting little tidbit after he, Janis Grimes and John Belt returned from the April 1995 ACSC Winter Workshop. There were, he reported, at that time, more than 100 clubs in the ACSC with more than 15,000 members!
One very memorable event occurred on September 30, 1995, at the Cardinal Forest Clubhouse in Springfield. It was: Dancing Under The Stars. For a $12 cover there was free beer, free soda and food, plus door prizes. What a deal.
In those days, it wasn’t a question of “Do we want to do this, or not?” It was more like, “This is happening, and we’re there.” Nothing short of an emergency took preference over our dance of choice, Carolina Shag. The teamwork was remarkable.
In March 1995, the club treasurer reported funds of $1,275.27.
Everyone was inspired when Brent Key and Shea Carver won the VA State Open Championship Overall Classic competition in October 1995, and a free trip to Anaheim, CA, to represent Virginia and Carolina Shag at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships. NVSC pride extended to Billy White and Karen Garmon of Virginia Beach, First Place Amateur Shag winners and Fourth Place in the Overall Classic competition. Congratulations also went to Rick Hendrix and Liz Kestler, Sid Strawderman and Linda Minton of the Richmond Shag Club, Bill Hopkins and Chris Pax, and Ed Magin and Janis Grimes for smooth and precise footwork in the Amateur Classic and Open Classic Shag competitions. (See results of Anaheim competition below – Sho Enough)
It is proper, right here, to single out and acknowledge the work of Janis Grimes, because, very possibly, without her behind-the-scenes persistence, energy and effort to motivate and bring people together in those early days, the club would not have survived this time of its birthing, or it may not have grown as rapidly and successfully as it did. She consistently brought the NVSC to the attention of not only local dancers, but to others in the Shag community from Virginia Beach, Richmond, Myrtle Beach, throughout the Carolinas, and as far North as New Jersey and New York. They came, by her gentle persuasion, to participate and check us out. Her dedication to the club and to the dance and music was inspiring and worthy of high honor and regard. Her devotion is commendable still, today, into the year 2003.
A Lesson in Class
One of the hallmarks of the shag world is the way shaggers treat people. I have never – in all the shag events, weekend functions, and the times I’ve been to Myrtle Beach – ever seen any sign of disrespectful or discourteous behavior among the shaggers, even with all that partyin’ going on!
The 1995 Christmas Party at the McLean VFW was another work-of-art masterminded by Pauline Easby-Smith and Donna Harrington. The VFW was festively and artfully decorated. Food and music were great, and everyone had a good time.
1995 Christmas Party at the VFW
THE TOP 50 SHAG SONGS OF 1995 (From the Charlie Byrd Beach Blast)
One Drop of Love Ray Charles
Love Comes Knockin’ Percy Sledge
She’s In a Midnight Mood Ollie Nightingale
Louise Louise Blues Champion Jack Dupree & Mojo Blues Band
Shama Lama Ding Dong Band of Oz
Beautiful Lover C. L. Blast
She Said The Same Things To Me Johnny Adams
Ability to Swing Patti Austin
Slow Boat to China Ronnie Dove
Real Love Johnny Taylor
Love Don’t Feel Like Love C. L. Blast
I’m In Love With The Girl Next Door Rue Davis
I Think About You Patti LaBelle
What’s Going On Frankie Gaye
Big Top Hat Stephen Burton
Morse Code of Love Capris
Look Into The Eyes Of A Fool Johnny Bristol
You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine Bill Fredericks
Tossing & Turning Pheobe Snow & The Johnny Johnson Band
Since I’ve Been Loving You Alexander O’Neal
If It’s News To You Johnny Nocturne Band
Over At Fannie Mae’s Charles Wilson
Believe It Or Not Billy Griffin
I’ll Be Around Rippingtons / Jeffrey Osborne
In The Room Next To The Room Charles Wilson
Let’s Stay Together Peter White
Love Potion #9 Hansel Martinez
September In The Rain Brenda Lee
Try A Little Harder Aaron Neville
Call The Plumber Joe Turner
Play It Like It Used To Be Alvin Lee
Baby Likes To Rock It Tractors
Honey In Your Heart Boots Randolph
Stop Loving You Stop Loving Me Daryl Hall
I Believe In You Bonnie Boyer
So Fine Terry Evans
Alligator Walk Mojo Blues Band
I Betcha O. C. Smith
Layin’ In The Alley Big Joe & The Dynaflows
Rough Side Of The Mountain Rev. F.C. Barnes & Rev. Jancie Brown
That Man Of Mine Betty Wright
Hound Dog Roll Jude Taylor & His Burning Flames
Whole Lotta Shaking Kings
See You Later Dee Dee Sharp
Happy Ever After Bee Gees
Soothe Me Rod Stewart
When Somebody Loves You Back Teddy Pendergrass
Bed Bug Boogie Barbara Blue Blues Band
So Good To My Baby Kid Ramos
All About You Gary Bass w / The Clovers
As President, one of the ways in which Charlie Price showed his devotion to the club and his love of shag was by being attentive to, and where possible, meeting club members’ needs; assuring that everyone got the most possible from being a club member and had every opportunity to experience the pleasure of dance. He did this by regular ongoing open communication with the board, individual club members, the deejay and Blackie’s management. His behind the scenes work, for which he received little outward notice or credit, greatly contributed to club success and club growth. Under his presidency the club rapidly grew to almost 200 members.