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'You have two families': Junior shag dancers talk of carrying on the tradition in NMB

For these brothers, it's about carrying on the tradition.

This weekend is the 35th National Shag Dance Competition in North Myrtle Beach, featuring junior dancers who's ages range from 14 to 20, including a college group and professional division for dancers over the age of 21.

This year, four sets of brothers are scheduled to compete.

"My grandparents, they kind of asked me if I wanted to do it and they said I could go to the beach for a week for Junior SOS and then I really liked it," competitor Maxwell Rusmisell, 14, said. "They just taught me the basics and then I kind of took off from there. And then, like, got way ahead and just kept learning more and just really fell in love with it."

His brother shortly followed in his footsteps.

"I came in after his first Junior SOS, and he was talking about how he loved it so much and how it's so fun and I was like I want to do that," contestant Bennett Rusmisell, 12, said. "So the next year I went and I had a lot of fun."

But for these shag dancers, it's not about winning. Rather, it's about the family and friends that are made through the competitions.

"You have two families if you do shag," Bennett Rusmissell said. "You have the shag family and then you're normal family. And I really like how, say you come last in a competition, it's like you came first because no one really cares about the places, it's just fun."

For another set of brothers, Cody and Zane Morgan, shag dancing helped bring them closer together despite a six year age gap.

And for the other sets of brothers, Tucker and Kason Brown and Mack and Billy West, influence from parents and grandparents helped them to find their second shag 'family.'

"Our grandparents do it and I was his age, I think, they introduced it to me and I started to do it," contestant Cody Morgan, 17, said. "After seven years it's been a crazy ride. It's got its ups and downs, but in the end it's always really fun."

The competition runs from Thursday through Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Spanish Galleon in North Myrtle Beach.

Admission prices vary based on the night. Admission is $15 Thursday, $20 Friday and $25 Saturday.

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