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“Shall we shag now or shall we shag later?” –Austin “Danger” Powers

 Instructors Phil Bourassa and Reesa Del Duca just got back from a great weekend of Shag Dance workshops. This is what Phil had to say about the weekend:

Great workshops, great competitions and, most importantly, great dancing.  This past weekend, Reesa and I headed up to Ottawa, representing Toronto at this year’s Shag Explosion 5/Canadian Shag Dance Championships.  I’ve never Shagged so hard in my life!

For those unfamiliar with Collegiate Shag, also know as “Shag” and “Flea Hop”, it is a type of Swing dance made popular in the 1930s.  The dance is known for its hopping basic step and high energy footwork that separates it from other forms of swing and other dances that use the “shag” name, such as Carolina Shag or St. Louis Shag. – CollegiateShag.com

Having studied Shag separately and worked on a few moves together, Reesa and I were looking forward to getting our feet wet in Ottawa.  We got there pretty late Friday night, but I still managed to squeeze in a few dances with some good friends and take a turn in the Jam circle that broke out.

Saturday afternoon had a whopping six classes; followed by the Jack ‘n’ Jill Competition preliminaries.  We attended all the classes and they were tons of fun.  Using their charm, great sense of humour and extensive experience in various forms of Swing, Zack and Maryse from Swing Connexion in Montreal are always a favourite among students.  Hailing from DC, David and Chelsea not only showed phenomenal skill in competition, they also demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of Shag Dance history in their classes.  The extensive experience of Byron, Natalia and Bill of Swing Dynamite, both in teaching and in competition, infused a healthy dose of local expertise.

Tony and Jamie, coming all the way from New York, were new to the event but by no means were new to Shag.  Their impact was felt immediately on the social floor and peaked Saturday night with a killer performance.  Not only did they take the title of Canadian Shag Dance Champions, they also offered a free class Sunday morning (if you could drag yourself out of bed).  We were then told they will be invited as teachers for next year’s Shag Explosion.  You have to check ‘em out!  Here’s an earlier clip of the routine they performed Saturday night.

I think I can speak for Reesa when I say the highlight of the weekend for us was hearing the results of the competitions.  Being fairly exhausted and sleep-deprived by Sunday afternoon, we were given a bit of a boost when it was announced that Reesa and I took 2nd and 1st place in the Open Jack ‘n’ Jill competition.  Woo!

Fuelled with nothing but leftover sandwich wraps, a few drops of adrenaline and about an ounce of sleep, we managed to make it back to Toronto in one piece.

As per usual, the folks at Swing Dynamite put on another great event.  I definitely recommend it for next year. www.shagexplosion.com

Keep shaggin’,

Phil Bourassa