Thursday, April 18, 2024

Shag dance celebrated in mural number 16 in Carolina Beach

Malcolm ‘Chicken’ Hicks dancing the shag in Carolina Beach. (Courtesy photo)

CAROLINA BEACH — A Greensboro artist has been selected to represent a former Carolina Beach legend and iconic nightclub known for highlighting rhythm and blues music on the island. Both helped inspire a state dance that migrated down the coast into Myrtle Beach and eventually worldwide.

Brian Lewis, also known as JEKS, will paint an homage to the Carolina Shag, the dance frequented by visitors to Ocean Plaza Ballroom, which hosted numerous R&B and beach bands for six decades. It was the main hangout of Malcolm “Chicken” Hicks, a local whose love for the music became solidified by his own moves.

READ MORE: Carolina Beach Music Festival announces 2023 lineup

The shag, known as “the swing of the South,” is an eight-step partner dance, which includes a basic, pivot, turns and a belly roll. Hicks was known for creating the camel walk, which dancers continue doing today as the shag’s popularity has spread nationwide and internationally.

Hicks, who passed away at 79 in 2004, was a member of the Shaggers Hall of Fame in Myrtle Beach and instrumental in developing the dance. A native of Carolina Beach since 18, Hicks spent time dancing at the Ocean Plaza Ballroom, which existed on the island from 1946 through 2006. Acts such as Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, and Bo Diddly played there.

“He helped introduce 1940’s R&B music to the beach community and gave dance exhibitions throughout the southeast,” a release from the Carolina Beach mural association noted.

JEKS is known for his street-art worldwide. He creates hyper-realistic paintings, and transitioned from graffiti to large format murals and fine art as a self-taught portraiture artist. He has painted musicians and pop culture icons and is a fully sponsored Monster Energy artist.

To be painted on the south-facing wall at the corner of Raleigh Avenue and Lake Park Boulevard, the mural will be completed by April.

The project was funded by pro-level shag dancers Donna and Rusty Hosaflook, members of the Competitive Shaggers Association. The Hosaflooks are inducted into the Nationals Living Legends of Dance in Virginia Beach and the Charlotte Area Shaggers Hall of Fame.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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