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Carolina Shag DVDs - Travel - The Ballroom - and More

About Sam and Lisa

Dancing Bios

 Sam West                                                                                      Born: July 14, 1972

Sam started shag dancing at age 9 after his mother, Barbara, became interested in dancing.  During his school years Sam also enjoyed soccer, baseball and basketball. 

As a junior shagger Sam danced with several partners including Terri Alberty, who he won two junior national titles with.  Terri's father, Shad, who many consider one of the best shag dancers ever, worked with Sam and was the biggest influence on Sam's dancing career.

In 1994 Sam and partner, Melissa Calabrese, won the Non-Pro National title on their way to becoming the Overall National Shag Champions.  Then in 1995 Sam partnered up with his sister, Sarah, and they went on to capture 8 Professional Division titles and 4 Overall titles.

Sam also won the Pro and Overall Shag titles in 2001 with Jackie McGee, again in 2006, 2007 and 2008 with Jessica McAlhany, then in 2010, 2011, and 2013 with Leslie Jennings, and most recently in 2014 with Krystal Taylor.

Sam is a 6 time champion of the Carolina Shag Division at the USA Grand National Dance Championships and a 3 time US Open Shag Champion.  Three times at the Grand Nationals Sam has been named Entertainer of the Weekend, first for his portrayal of super spy Austin Powers, second for a Country/Swing number with his very pregnant wife to Two of a Kind Working on a Full House, and thirdly for just being Sam.  He has also been a member, captain and choreographer for the National Shag Dance Championship Dance Team. 

In November of 2010 Sam and Lisa won their first big title together when they were named the winners of the Sophisticated Swing Division at the US Open Swing Dance Championships.  They  performed a memorable and creative number to Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain. They won another US Open Sophisticated title in 2012 when they danced to The Pink Panther.

Sam has made several appearances on national and local TV and was a featured dancer in the movie Shag and in Alabama's Shaggin' on the Boulevard music video.  In 1999 he and his sister, Sarah, were the first inductees into the Shagger's Hall of Fame Keepers of the Dance.

In the spring of 2013 Sam and Lisa brought Carolina Shag into homes across America when they starred in a national television commercial for Kayak.com.  The spot featured them dancing shag and delivering the normal corny dialog of Kayak ads like "Tip Tap Time" and "Chattanooga Check-in." 

 

Lisa West                                                                     Born:   March 7, 1964

Lisa didn't start her dance career until age 27.  During her Jr High and High School days she was a competitive gymnast and cheerleader.  She attended the University of Alabama from 1982-87 where she served as a Varsity Cheerleader for four years and was on the 1984 National Championship squad.

Lisa's love of dance began on the Country Western dance floor where she learned two-step, waltz, east coast swing, west coast swing, polka,  and cha-cha.  She taught dance line dance and couples dance at Dance Connection studio in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

She began competing on the swing and cabaret circuit with friend, Barry Durand.  They took advantage of her gymnastic and cheerleading background and performed  many daring overhead lifts and drops.  Some of their more memorable numbers include "The Wizard of Oz" and "Butterfly Kisses."  Together Barry and Lisa won the 1997 US Open Cabaret Championship and were two-time winners of the American Swing Dance Championships in the Showcase Division.

In 1998 Lisa met Sam at the USA Grand Nationals in Atlanta when they shared the practice floor before competition.  Sam says she chased him but Lisa says he wasn't too hard to catch.

Together they have been teaching a promoting shag throughout the country and have even held workshops in France, Spain, England, the Netherlands and aboard cruise ships. 

 

 

 

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