Dina Chester

One from the Heart

Meet Dina:

Favorite spot: I love the beach just about anywhere. I guess my special spot is Dolphin Head.

Latest Read:
I am just finished with Steven Jobs biography. I wish I could have known him. What a complex person he must have been.

Oh, I have a very special Grandson. He is 2 Ω and such a joy.
Words to live by: I am always and simply grateful for each and every day.

Yes, there are many women in many kinds of businesses, but this gal is in the business of having fun, and it has as many facets as any major corporation. Meet shag dancer Dina Chester.

PINK: Dina, talk a little bit about the history of shag dancing.

Well, there are differences of opinions, but shag dancing reportedly started in New York in the late 1930s. It was derived from the Lindy Hop, Big Apple, Jitterbug, and Swing. When it made it to the coastal areas of the Carolinas, it became known as the Carolina Shag. Properly done, there is very little movement from the waist down. Experienced shaggers glide on the dance floor and are very smooth in their movements. It was made the state dance of South Carolina in 1985, and there are even license plates available through the DMV commemorating shag.

PINK: You are a member of the local shag club, I understand:

Yes. The Hilton Head Island Carolina Shag Club was formed in 1994 by a small group of people looking for a place to dance and socialize. Some of the original members are still active in our club today. We have grown each year, and now have more than 300 members. Many of us travel to other shag weekend events, forming friendships outside of our club and learning new steps. That is all part of the fun!

PINK: How is the local club set up and what sorts of things do you offer?

We are very welcoming to new members year-round, however, the best time to join would be the first Tuesday after Labor Day when we begin our lessons. Again, you can join any time. We offer a six-week session of Beginner 1, Beginner 2, and Intermediate and Advanced lessons. You can repeat any six- week session you want before you move on the next level. Our lessons are given at Remy's Bar and Grill on Arrow Road. Lessons are pretty much ongoing and very open to anyone who is interested. Dues are $25 per person and that includes lessons and entrance to our five social parties. Our website, www.hhishag.com is full of info on events, membership, lesson schedules, and even photos of some of our dancers. We all are advocates, and we love to share our enthusiasm. We also host the Annual Island Winter Classics in January at the Marriott Resort and Spa in Palmetto Dunes. More than 500 shaggers from all over the U.S. attend. We have national champions, junior shaggers, bands, teachers and more.

PINK: What drew you to shag dancing in the first place?

Shagging is a simple dance. It is a couples' dance, but one may come as a single and get a partner. It offers great physical exercise, and mental exercise, too. The HHI club is about having fun with the dance, forging new friendships, and being in a relaxed social setting. Friendships are so open, and the whole group is as welcoming as you can find anywhere. Just come and have some fun!

PINK: You have told me that the club is also very active in community charities. Talk a bit about that.

Our club has supported many charities. We have done events for Programs for Exceptional People (PEP), Volunteers in Medicine (VIM), Room at the Inn, and Osprey Village. Shag demonstrations by our members have been given at many local venues including schools, conventions, social organizations, and nursing facilities. Yes, we get around!

PINK: To be in "One From the Heart," you must share your gift of time with others. Do you have a volunteer commitment that is special to you?

Yes, I have been a regular volunteer at VIM for 15 years. I speak Spanish and German and I am often called upon to translate. I feel this is very important, as exact wording of symptoms and medical instructions can really be key to successful treatment. Of course, I also teach a little shag-surprised?

Any closing thoughts?
Yes, it's been an honor to be asked to talk about shag and to let Pink readers know what is available for very little money.  The Hilton Head Island Carolina Shag Club is the best source for meeting new friends and having a great time! My philosophy about dancing is that you never make a mistake dancing-it's just your own personal variation.

Every Friday Night at Tailgators in Pineland Station.