Father-Daughter Dance Team Wins National Shag Dance Competition

May 04, 2021 by apost team

In March of 2020, Sam West and his daughter Sydney Kimble West won the Professional Division Champions in the National Shag Dance Championships in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the second year in a row.

Have you ever heard of the shag? No, we're not talking about shag rugs — it's the official state dance of South Carolina. The shag involves graceful footwork that's so smooth that the dancers appear to glide across the stage. The dance is so popular that since 1984, South Carolina has hosted the National Shag Dance Competition every year in Myrtle Beach.

Of course, this family didn't take up the dance recently. According to their website, the father of the duo, Sam West, has been practicing the shag since he was nine years old when he danced with his mother Barbara. Throughout the years, he competed in a number of shag competitions and won numerous titles, including the Pro and Overall Shag titles for multiple years in a row. His wife Lisa started her dance career at the age of 27, and she's proven herself to be just as much of a powerhouse.

She won multiple titles with her dance partner, including the top prize in the American Swing Dance Championships. When Lisa and Sam met, they were practically unstoppable. They won multiple championships together, specializing in shag and swing. For this couple, dancing isn't just a hobby — it's a way of life. And when they started a family, they knew they had to instill that same love of dance into their own children.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

Sam and Lisa's son Mack is an accomplished dancer in his own right, competing in multiple shag competitions across the world. But in 2020, Sam's shag performance with his daughter Sydney captivated audiences across the world as they took part in a mind-blowing performance that mixed grace and elegance with speed and style. They walk onstage looking faintly nervous, stopping to pose for a photograph.

But when the music starts, the cheering begins. The duo starts their performance effortlessly, swaying their legs as easily as if they're made of rubber. They seem to glide across the dance floor with deceptively simple footwork that takes years of training to master. When you watch the video, it's clear that they're perfectly matched. Neither is better than the other, and they complement each other's dance moves as if they were born to perform together.

As the show goes on, Sydney can't help but smile at her father. It's clear that these two are having a blast and love performing on stage. They perform complex dance moves that elicit cheers from the crowd and spin effortlessly like a pair of graceful ice skaters.

As the two dance across the stage, the crowd can't keep their eyes off them. What we're witnessing isn't just another dance routine: it's a special father-daughter moment that wouldn't be possible without years of trust and bonding. 

Toward the end of the performance, the dancing becomes more energetic, and Sydney can't help but let out a dazzling smile. The happiness of this duo is infectious — the crowd can't help but smile and laugh along with them.


A World-Class Duo Bursting With Talent

At the end of the show, the crowd rises and gives Sam and Sydney a much-deserved standing ovation. This truly was the performance of a lifetime: and the thousands of viewers this video has racked up seem to agree. Talent and skill are important, but you won't get anywhere if you don't have a genuine love for the sport. And it's clear that Sam and Sydney's passion for dance is going to keep them on the dance floor for a long time to come.

And if passion isn't enough to keep Sam and Sydney going, their fans are sure to give them a boost. The YouTube comments are full of compliments and encouragement — a testament to this duo's inspiring talent. One enthusiastic commenter wrote: "I know Sam has to be so proud to have danced with his daughter in the Nationals and they will have special memories that they will NEVER forget. While I was watching the video my eyes were leaking."

Another fan chimed in with a long message, having written, "Sam west is arguably the best shagger out there today. His smoothness and articulations on the dance floor are the best I have ever seen. I truly enjoyed this routine and interpretation of Stand by Me, just a wonderful exhibition of pure talent and joy."

One commenter, who probably speaks for many of us, admitted that although he knows nothing about shag dancing, the performance was "an awesome watch!!"

We have to wonder: What is it about the shag that's so inspiring? And for those of us who aren't professional shag dancers, where did it come from?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, historians trace the shag's origins to South Carolina, though it's a descendant of other dances like the Carolina Jitterbug and Little Apple. Some historians look even further back in the past, tracing the shag back to its roots in African dance. Regardless of when shag was born, we know that it wasn't until the 1960s when dancers started using the term "shag." And it wasn't until the 1970s when competitive shag came to be.

Since then the Carolina shag has gone on to influence American culture, appearing in films, on TV, and on the radio. In fact, in 1989 Zelda Barron directed "Shag," a comedy film that featured Carolina shag dancing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Similarly, Sam and his wife Lisa brought Carolina shag to television when they were featured dancing in a national television commercial for an online travel company, according to the dance couple's website.

In any case, it's clear that shag — whether on the big screen, on television, or as a niche hobby — is here to stick around. The "longest continuously running shag dance contest in the United States," the National Shag Dance Championships, will be hosting their preliminary trials at the Spanish Galleon in Myrtle Beach in January of 2022, with the championships in March of 2022.

Until then, we'll have to be satisfied with the videos from 2020's competition. But as the performance below demonstrates, the greatest shag performances never get old.

What did you think? Were you blown away by this amazing routine? Let us know your thoughts. Pass this video along if you think your friends and family might enjoy it, too!

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