G. and I help set world record in Carolina shag

G. and I helped set a Guinness world record for the largest Carolina shag dance. This is the view from the floor as everyone waits for the dancing to begin.

G. and I just spent a fabulous week in the Carolinas, and the highlight of the trip was Saturday in North Myrtle Beach, when we helped set a world record for the largest Carolina shag dance.

My mom and her boyfriend took up shag when they moved to North Carolina, and G. and I started learning a couple of years ago when we met the fabulous Michael and Leann Norris.

This was the second year that we’ve gone to North Myrtle Beach for the Society of Stranders‘ Fall Migration, otherwise known as SOS week. Think spring break for seniors. Thousands of people, most of them over 50, gather in North Myrtle to dance at Fat Harold’s, Ducks and other legendary bars. The party goes on for 10 days. Each year, I’ve been exhausted after three.

This year, SOS and its associated clubs decided to raise money for the SOS Charitable Foundation by organizing an attempt to set a world record for the largest Carolina shag dance. The Guinness Book of World Records is apparently very strict in its rules. We had a dress code (G. got his first white golf shirt for the occasion), had to report to a closed arena and had to dance in unison for five minutes. We had a practice session beforehand, and a video camera recorded the actual attempt so it could be verified.

The five minutes went fast.

We only had to do three basic steps, and Jackie McGee, another world-class dancer, called them so that part wasn’t hard at all. When we finished, Jackie talked for a few minutes. She said she had been dancing a long time and wished that she had appreciated more the special moments on the dance floor. She encouraged us to cherish this one, since when would we ever again have a chance to set a world record?

I felt tears in my eyes, and then I looked at G. and he was misting up too. I love that man! He denies it now, but I saw the tears and I know he was as moved as me.

TV crew turned out for the event, but we were disappointed we couldn’t find a story in the local newspaper the next morning. About 1,000 people signed up to dance and donated $5 to the foundation, but only about 750 turned out. At least, that was Jackie’s estimate based on the number of groups of 50 on the floor.

Still, that should have been more than enough to set a record. Now, we’re just waiting for an update with an official word from Guinness.


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