At 15 Johnny Hensley wrote and recorded a song called “Shaggin” with Augusta’s first Rock and Roll band called Johnny Hensley and The Red Hots. The song did well on southeastern radio stations.
Fast forward to 2009, and Mr. Hensley, a real estate executive in Augusta started promoting the resurgence of “Shag” dancing and the music that makes it fun by starting a weekly television show called “Johnny Hensley’s Shag City”. The show is based on the format of the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand show, but offers only shag dancing.
Mr. Hensley points out that the CSRA Shag Club (Central Savannah Area) is one of the oldest shag clubs around and has over 600 members. There are more than 150 shag clubs throughout Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. The “Shag” dance is the official state dance of South Carolina.
Mr. Hensley goes on to point out there has not been a national dance ‘craze’ in this country in nearly 50 years, with the “Twist” being the last one. Mr. Hensley hopes to change that by exposing the Shag culture to the entire country by streaming of his television show via the Internet and maybe at some point potentially being picked up by a major network. When asked does he act in the same capacity on his show as Dick Clark did, Mr. Hensley smiled and replied, “Well, kind of, sort of. But there will never be another Dick Clark. I just try to keep everyone having a good time.”
The shag movement is “unbelievable to watch” and they even do exhibitions throughout the south. This is the future of the “Shag”. The average age of viewers on Johnny Hensley’s Shag City strikes at the heart of the “baby boomers”…about 45-65 years of age but we have had some dance contest winners in their mid 80’s. Which leads Mr. Hensley to another point about dancing, the increased fitness one gets from shagging even though it’s fairly easy to do. It’s mostly from the waist down. Legend has it, when shagging first started on the beaches throughout the south years ago, many people actually danced in the sand on the beach and they didn’t want to spill their drinks so they had to be careful from the waist up.
And, for people who are not in to dancing say they love the music on the show which goes all the way back to the early 1950’s to present day. One of the more popular shag songs on the shows is “Need You Now” by lady Antebellum. Which Mr. Hensley is quick to point out, two of the group’s members are from Augusta, Charles Kelly and Dave Hayward. The next few shows will originate from the prestigious Woodside Plantation Country Club in the heart of Aiken, South Carolina. If readers would be interested in dancing on future shows or having the show come to their area to tape, you may contact Lynda Williamson, Executive Producer at (706) 836-9192 or firstname.lastname@example.org