Teens' Dance Moves Impress Judges Securing First Prize At Grand Nationals

Sep 22, 2021 by apost team

More often than not, traditional dance styles aren’t mastered by today’s youth. You’re more likely to find them doing contemporary, hip hop, krumping, or whatever the latest trendy craze is. But in the case of young Mack West and partner Trinity Davis, they’ve proven to be the exception, and have brought the excitement back to a dance known as the shag, clinching first place in the Grand National Junior One Championship in 2017. This is quite an achievement for teens, and we are sure the video will have you wanting to jump up and break out a few moves yourself! 

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

Shag dancing falls under the umbrella of "swing". Swing dancing, which has long been a popular form of dance since the 1920s, works really well with fast-paced songs that allow a variety of vibrant movements. Interestingly, "swing" is actually a form of jazz music that in turn influenced the dance form we know today. Instead, the dance form is known as "jitterbug" in many professional dance circles, which is an umbrella for all types of swing dances, such as the Lindy Hop, Shag, and Balboa

First seen in the 1940s on the beaches of South Carolina, the shag dance was all the hype for the youngsters at the time. The way the movements and steps are laid-back, fluid, and smooth gives the dance a kind of swag (sure, they had swag in the ‘40s) and is a nod to the carefree beach lifestyle, says Discover South Carolina.It consists of numerous series of steps forwards and backward, while the partners switch their weight from one side to the other.

Back then, young people would dance the shag on the beaches for a fun and relaxing pastime. It sure beats playing the Xbox in your friend’s basement. But then again, these were different times.


Mack and Trinity proved that the shag did not die with the older generations, and they were able to breathe exciting new life into the style with their fun performance, which won both of them first place at the Junior Shag Grand Nationals, as seen in this infectious video. At the time, Mack was only 14 and Trinity 13, so the young teens had not been dancing for more than two and a half years as per Ron Project. Winning a national dance competition is quite a feat then! 

The host of this event calls out the young dancers to take their place on the stage, and the two make their way down. While they walked onto the stage with complete composure and seemed very relaxed, it might have also been a nerve-racking experience for them. After all, quite a few people were present to watch and the stakes were quite high. Along with that, young teens are going through a period of social and emotional development that can be both exhilarating and frightening. At school, young teenagers may feel as though they are constantly on the spot. It isn't easy being 13 or 14, but these two teens make it look easier than ever! 

As soon as “NYC song” by John Cafferty And The Beaver Brown Band started playing, the two teens start stepping without missing a single beat. They had certainly put their hard work in and practiced really well! 

They make the whole number look effortless, showing off both their natural ability and expertise in this particular dance style. Their feet move quickly to the rhythm, and with Mack leading, the whole dance takes on a new life. It is wonderful to see youngsters taking dance as seriously as these two do. 

Mack stays cool and calm as he leads Trinity around the floor with fancy footwork. Her moves mimic his, and they move in perfect unison, often breaking out more complicated and twirls and tricks as they go. The look of pure joy on the senior members of the audience is likely coming from memories of times past when things were simpler and dancing the night away with your friends was a normal Friday night.

Discover South Carolina elaborates on why the Shag was such a popular dance in the heydey of the 40s and 50s. The Shag, specifically the South Carolina Shag was known as the "swing dance of the south" as well as "old beer on a warm night with a hot date and no plans for tomorrow." Being a beach-dance for a long time, it was embraced by the youth of the time because of its fast pace and the fun of getting lost in the music. Moreover, this type of dance was easy enough for everyone to join in, be it 10-year-olds or 90-year-olds. 

"The sheer power of the emotional appeal of music brought the races together. Black and white, rich and poor, jumped the rope and came down from the balconies to share the music and a memory," said Dino Thomson, author of "Boogie Woogie Beats" and one of South Carolina's original shag dancers. All that mattered to the dancers at the time was the dance floor, and this still rings true for dancers today. Getting lost in the music as you swayed your body and tapped your legs to the rhythm is what the magic of dance is all about. Certainly, for Mack and Trinity, the dance floor became their place for expressing themselves, and their original jitters might have made way for them getting lost in the beats of the song. 

The whole performance was a phenomenal display of joy and fun and was executed with a perfection that takes hours of training and preparation. Their first-place award was well deserved. As they continue their performance, picking up the pace, they provoke applause and praise from the crowd. It’s clear that Mack can schmooze the crowd, and Trinity’s smile is contagious, especially when Mack pulls out an impressive spin and bounce. As the music finishes, the cute partners embrace and the crowd shows their amazement with a standing ovation.

All the time and effort they’ve put into this number has clearly paid off. And when it comes time to bring a joyful and flawless performance, these two can deliver. What’s your favorite dance? Have you ever been impressed with young dancers that seem to dance beyond their years? Tell us about it! Make sure your friends and family get to see these two teenagers who transport us back in time.

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