Amidst the most beautiful backdrop of moss-covered oak trees and the soft waves of the St. Helena Sound, the Family Slide Dancers followed the directives of the lyrics that spewed out from their musical selection: “Love Slide. Love Slide. Slide, slide, slide, slide. Step to the right, step to the left. Shuffle for me. Freeze. Shuffle for me. Step it over smooth.”
The Family Slide Dancers were warmly received by the festival-goers that gathered for the Lands End Woodland River Festival on Labor Day Weekend to celebrate the legacy of its Gullah founding fathers. Many people wondered who was this group of dance enthusiasts.
During the final year of Lynn Bryant’s teaching career in the public school system, she formed Family Slide Dancers with a small group of staff members at St. Helena Elementary in August 2010. The group soon expanded significantly when she began teaching classes for Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services at their Burton Wells Center, Lind Brown Activity Center, and St. Helena Gym.
The Family Slide Dancers perform the classics and latest in slide dancing which is also known as soul line dancing. A few of the dance names may be familiar: “The Electric Slide,” “The Wobble,” and “Cupid Shuffle.” The purpose of the Family Slide Dancers is to encourage people of all ages to come together as a united dance family to enjoy the social experience of slide dance with the added benefit of fitness fun.
Dancing and performing with and for the community is what the Family Slide Dancers thoroughly enjoy. They performed August 3rd at the grand opening of the Melodic Latte Café housed in Artworks. Then on August 6th, approximately 100 attendees were at Penn Center’s Frissell Auditorium, as the Family Slide Dancers held their first Summer Sliders’ Soirée in their signature colors of lavender and black. Coming up September 24th, they will be performing for the Annual Beaufort County Youth Conference at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Then the highlight of their events will be on September 30th when the Family Slide Dancers showcase at the Annual South Carolina Classic Soul Line Dance Conference in Myrtle Beach.
Bryant’s love and obsession for dancing to rhythm & blues began in the late 1960’s when she was a majorette in the marching band at St. Helena High School which was a segregated African American school. Her autobiography “I’m Black and I’m Proud,” wished the white girl chronicles these fascinating times. Now Bryant’s life of dance has come full circle. Her vision for Family Slide Dancers is that organized soul line and slide dancing will continue to flourish in the Lowcountry long after she puts her dancing shoes up.
The Family Slide Dancers truly believe in Cupid’s lyrical query in his song Love Slide, “Why would you not want to play music that brings people together?” So for anyone who would like to join in the fun of slide dancing with the Family Slide Dancers, visit www.familyslidedancers.com.