Ellen Taylor, an icon in the Shag community, began dancing at the age of 10, accompanying an unmarried aunt to square dances and grew up dancing in the local recreation center with a favorite pastime of being the ‘pesky little girl’ aggravating the older boys to dance with her. She and her husband of 60 years, Carl, met at their senior prom (each had other dates), and their dates always included dancing or concerts; and continue to dance at every opportunity.

She has traveled throughout the southeast teaching shag workshops for over 30 years. Ellen judged the National Shag Dance Championships for many years and has judged at the USA Grand Nationals Dance Championships.

As a competitor, she has competed in the Masters Division at GNDC several times; and at the National Shag Dance Champions with different partners, placing 2nd many times. In 2017, she placed 2nd with Sam West in Strictly Shag at GNDC. Highlights for her include being contacted by Toni Basil to choreograph a routine for the movie “Something To Talk About” and being invited to Denmark in 2018 to film a commercial for Swisscom with Sam West.

Ellen is an inductee in the National Shag Dance Hall of Fame, is a Beach Shaggers National Living Legend, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Shag Clubs, and was the first recipient of the GNDC Shell Award for Favorite SOS Dance partner. She was an original organizing board member of the National Living Legends of Dance and is now a Legends honoree.

Her contribution to the dance community also includes the Ellen Taylor Foundation, which was organized in 2007 for the purpose of providing financial assistance in the education, preservation and promotion of the Shag. The Foundation also runs a program for providing gently used dance shoes to Junior Shaggers, and provides funding for Shag workshops and funding for juniors to travel and participate in junior shag events.

She is one of two people presented with an ACSC/SOS Fellow Award; and her dedication to the shag community is well described in its presentation (and needs no further elaboration), “Ellen Taylor has been awarded nearly every significant honor in shagging. But, it not what she has

received that makes her so special, it is what she gives. Now, when we think of Ellen Taylor, we think of her greatest gift of all: her endless and tireless work with and promoting Junior Shaggers. If shag never dies, we can all thank Ellen for dedicating so much of her adult life to helping our young people experience this magical dance and consequently learn to love it as much as we do. Besides her dancing ability, Ellen has many special qualities which place her in a class all by herself. Ellen is down-to-earth, gracious, very approachable, elegant and graceful as any person in shagging. Perhaps more than anything she loves the dance itself with a passion that most of us cannot fathom. While some like the culture, the lifestyle, the friends, or the partying Ellen loves thing magical dance itself and she translates that into a shining example for the rest of us to follow.”

Ellen’s thoughts on dancing: “For some, riches are found in dollars; for me, the greatest riches in life have been the dance, the music, and the lifelong friendships that happened because of dancing. There is no amount of money that can buy these things.”

Awards & Accomplishments:
Ellen Taylor