The Shag was designated as the official State Dance by Act Number 329 of 1984. The Shag is performed to music known as rhythm and blues. Both the music and dance are structured on time signature and can be performed to almost any tempo, as long as the basic step is maintained and kept in time to the music.
The Square Dance was designated the official State Folk Dance by Act Number 329 of 1994. Square Dancing is the American Folk Dance that is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line and heritage dances. Square Dancing has been recorded throughout South Carolina’s history.
STATE FOLK DANCE
South Carolina has two official State Songs. "Carolina" was designated as the State Song by a Concurrent Resolution on February 11, 1911. The poem "Carolina" was written by Henry Timrod and set to music by Anne C. Burgess.
Audio of "Carolina" - Performed by the Lexington County Choral Society and Southern Bronze Handbell Choir
"South Carolina on My Mind" was designated as the official State Song by Act Number 302 of 1984. "South Carolina on My Mind" was composed and recorded by Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge, native South Carolinians.
Beach Music was designated as the official State Popular Music by Act Number 15 of 2001. Beach music is primarily a rhythm and blues style based on 4/4 rhythms with a moderate to fast paced tempo. Beach music has become synonymous with the Shag Dance and contributes tremendously to the enjoyment of the citizens of South Carolina.
The Richardson Waltz was designated as the official State Waltz by Act Number 389 of 2000. The Richardson family of the 1800s was known for their love of music and dancing. The melody for the Richardson Waltz was created by a member of the Richardson family and an arrangement was later created by Mary Richardson Briggs.
The Spiritual was designated as the official State Music by Act Number 64 of 1999. The Spiritual is song usually derived from a religious or sacred theme. The origin and development of the Spiritual is deeply rooted in this State, as much of this music originated in the coastal regions.
The spiritual was passed down orally for many years and first committed to writing in South Carolina on St. Helena Island by a freed black woman and a white Union Army officer during the Civil War. The publication of an 1867 book on slave songs was the result of the work done by an educational mission on the Port Royal islands in 1861.
Porgy and Bess was designated as the official Opera of the State by Act Number 94 of 2001. Porgy and Bess is an opera based on the novel Porgy written by Edwin Dubose Heyward. The opera dealt with African American life in the 1930’s fictional Catfish Row of Charleston, South Carolina. The opera premiered in New York in 1935.
PORGY AND BESS
The official State Poet Laureate was designated by Joint Resolution Number 736 of 1934. The resolution authorized the Governor of South Carolina to appoint a Poet Laureate for the State. The current Poet Laureate is Marjory Wentworth of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. She was appointed South Carolina Poet Laureate in 2003.