Club encourages youth to learn the S.C. state dance

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The Junior Shag Development Committee from the Hilton Head Island Carolina Shag Club (HHICSC) invites youth who like music, dance and fun to learn the state dance of South Carolina, the Shag.

Becky Elliott, recent past president of HHICSC, and chair of the Junior Shag Development Committee, said the group's mission is to inspire youth to be joyful and confident. "Through the rhythmic movement of shag dancing, youth learn to express their spirit's creativity and individuality," she said.

The Shag community strives to embody joy, kindness, diversity, health and positivity, compassion, responsibility and gratitude. Their vision is a world where everyone enjoys life through music and dance.

Jennifer Batten, a former Junior Shag dancer, now a parent of two Junior Shaggers and board member of the Junior Shag Association, said it best in The Carefree Times, a North Myrtle Beach-based publication for shag dancers: "In the process of learning to dance they learn so much more. They learn personal respect; respect for others, manners and social graces; sportsmanship and work ethics; positive communication skills; time management, flexibility and organization; and, to make friends and stay friends."

Shag dancing, like many other cultural interests, wanes as generations grow older. Many HHICSC members see the Junior Shag initiative as an opportunity to pass on their love of shag dancing to their children and grandchildren.

HHICSC and its Development Committee's immediate goal is to generate enough local interest in junior shag dancing to support organizing a separate Junior Shag Club. "We can visit organizations in the community wherever young people may gather and invite them to consider hosting a series of dance lessons at their establishment, be it a school, church, or community center," Elliott said. "We will be happy to send an Ambassador from our club to share information and get kids dancing!"

Mike Salera, current president of HHICSC, says that the Club recently designated itself as "Junior Shag Friendly." Dancers under the age of 21 are welcomed to become members of Hilton Head Island Carolina Shag Club when accompanied by an adult.

Beginning this summer, the Club will host Friday Social dances every week, versus just twice a month as in year's past, increasing the opportunities for residents and visitors to get out and dance.

The dances are held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Dolphin Head Golf Club, 59 High Bluff Road in Hilton Head Plantation.

There is a $5 floor charge. For more information, visit HiltonHeadShagClub.com or the group's Facebook page.

Bill Anderson is a member of the Hilton Head Island Carolina Shag Club.

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