Acknowledging the roots of swing dances and jazz music.

What is Collegiate Shag?

Collegiate Shag is a partnered swing dance that originated in the 1930s.
It has a history similar to other jazz and swing era dances, such as the Charleston, Lindy Hop, and Balboa.


There are virtually as many “shag” dances as there were locations to dance – back in the day most regions had their own shag variant.
What is widely referred to as Collegiate Shag today is a dance that probably originated with college kids during the jazz and swing era. It’s usually associated with a 6-count basic, quick and flashy footwork and a chugging rhythm. It may be danced in closed position, open position or side by side.
The true history is sketchy and much argued, but the fun is undeniable!

Does it have to be fast? No. Collegiate Shag suits a variety of tempos.
Is it all about bouncing up and down? No, social shag dancing can be done in a relaxed and comfortable way so you can dance all night!


Interested in learning Collegiate Shag. Check out our program of Learn To Dance In A Day – Collegiate Shag workshops.
Swing Patrol also holds regular weekly Collegiate Shag classes at Fitzroy Balboa & Shag on Tuesdays, and a beginner Shag class and social dancing fortnightly on Fridays at Club Maxie’s.
Many other Swing Patrol class venues will occasionally teach a short season of Shag – check with teachers what’s in store.


Have a look at Collegiate Shag in action… if a picture paints a thousand words then these video clips will say it better than we ever could! Enjoy!

Here’s a classic clip from “back in the day”

And Melbourne’s own Double Rhythm Riot troupe