Save the Last Dance for Me
A Love Story of the Shag and the Society of Stranders
In Save the Last Dance for Me, Phil Sawyer and Tom Poland retell the story of the legendary dance and its iconic presence at Ocean Drive, Myrtle Beach, and other South Carolina beaches. While contributing memories of shagging on Ocean Drive, Sawyer and Poland also discuss the actual dance steps that make up the shag. With the retelling of the shag story comes the unique story of the Society of Stranders. Formed in 1980 after a Red Sea Balsam bottle containing an SOS note washed ashore as a practical joke, what resulted was increased national publicity and five thousand "stranders" flocking to Ocean Drive Beach to show their support for the shag culture. The Society of Stranders, or SOS, and the Association of Carolina Shag Clubs together now consist of more than fifteen thousand members. The shag's past, present, and future are described here with archival and contemporary photographs.
The shag has become an important part of coastal culture for thousands, particularly in North Myrtle Beach, a community that has embraced the legacy of this dance. Save the Last Dance for Me tells the story of cultural change, including the separation and integration of races, and chronicles how rhythm and blues, Motown, and beach music evolved to create a social phenomenon that is still popular today.
About the Authors
Tom Poland is a native of Georgia and a University of Georgia graduate. He has published six books, three of which were coauthored with Robert C. Clark and published by the University of South Carolina Press, including Reflections of South Carolina.
"Dr. Phil Sawyer is one of a kind, and in the small genre of Carolina shag history books, Save the Last Dance for Me is also one of a kind. You are about to learn that, decades ago, a radical merger of cultures and customs created a social dance more graceful and beautiful than the sum of its partners. By the time you finish, you will know that, without Phil Sawyer's love for the dance and his loyalty to it, the Society of Stranders would have drifted into oblivion. The 15,000 SOS dancers, young and old, who continue to migrate to the beach three times every year owe Phil big time.——"—Richard S. Durlach, dance instructor, University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance
"A must read for all who have, at one time or another, been touched by the shag and the music that made it possible. Save the Last Dance for Me presents an excellent history of our dance, the shag, emphasizing how it started, the people, the places, the music, the good times and the bad, and the growth and preservation. If you love the shag, you will love this book."—Charlie Womble and Jackie McGee, nine-time National Shag Champions
"When the novelty bottle washed ashore at Ocean Drive in 1980 announcing the inaugural Society of Stranders, the beach again became a second home for dancing and music enthusiasts. My friend Phil Sawyer shares that and other shag stories beautifully. Thank you, Phil, for your rare imagination, making Ocean Drive, South Carolina, the shag–dancing Mecca of the world."—John J. "Bubber" Snow, South Carolina House of Representatives, 24 years
Other Titles by Tom Poland
Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture