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Youths learn state dance

Posted: July 16, 2013 - 10:51am
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Eight-year-old Henry Graham (center right) stands with 9-year-old Grayson Boyd (center left) and looks over at the line of girls just before the boys ask a partner to dance with them on Saturday July 13, 2013 during a junior dance class, where particpants learned how to dance the Shag, at the YMCA location off Martintown Road in North Augusta,South Carolina. Aaron Hobbs (far left) stands in line as well, since there were more girls than boys in the class. Sara Caldwell/staff  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Eight-year-old Henry Graham (center right) stands with 9-year-old Grayson Boyd (center left) and looks over at the line of girls just before the boys ask a partner to dance with them on Saturday July 13, 2013 during a junior dance class, where particpants learned how to dance the Shag, at the YMCA location off Martintown Road in North Augusta,South Carolina. Aaron Hobbs (far left) stands in line as well, since there were more girls than boys in the class. Sara Caldwell/staff

Up two three. Back two three. Back step.

As Johnny Turner repeated those instructions, boys and girls practiced the dance steps.

“Again,” said Turner. “Up two three. Back two three. Back step.”

About 24 youths gathered Saturday at the Family Y of North Augusta for the monthly junior shag dance workshop led by Turner and his wife, Judy.

The Turners have been teaching the dance around the area for 30 years. They have been holding a free workshop for youths 7 to 17. for the past few months at the Family Y of North Augusta.

“We shag and we want it to continue,” said Judy Turner, noting that her children and grandchildren are also shag dancers. “It’s historical, it’s the state dance.”

As Johnny Turner continued with instructions, a few of the participants made frequent glances downward to their feet as they followed along, trying to keep in rhythm. As they caught on, several began to smile and encourage the person next to them.

Shag is a dance the couple enjoys and have even more fun teaching, they said.

“We love it, we grew up doing it when we were in school. … Now we’re out promoting it again and it’s growing like crazy,” said Johnny Turner.

To find out when the next junior shag dance workshop will be held, contact the Family Y of North Augusta at (803) 278-0882.

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