Jerry Holt Receives Living Legend Award
By Judie Holcomb-Pack
Congratulations to Jerry Holt, who was honored recently with the National Living Legends of Dance award in Virginia Beach.
He owes it all to Elvis.
When Jerry was just 10 years old, he saw Elvis sing and dance on television and immediately began imitating him. He loved the way Elvis moved to the music. When he was 13, he and a friend, Johnny Puckett, entered a dance contest. Johnny sang Blue Suede Shoes and Jerry danced like Elvis. They won the contest and the prize of a coffee table, and Jerry has been dancing ever since.
For many years, Jerry taught the shag dance, associated with East Coast beach music, and operated dance clubs in the Myrtle Beach area. In the 1990s he started the Premier Shag Contest and the first competition featured 12 couples. In five years, it grew to hundreds of people who flocked to the competition, which included top performers and entertainment.
Jerry’s knowledge of the beach music scene led to an opportunity to become a deejay for a radio station in North Myrtle Beach, WNNB. Bill Norman, the station owner, offered to train him so on his first day, he sat Jerry down in front of the mic and left … literally. The first time in front of a mic and he was on his own, sink or swim. Jerry survived that first day and came to love the radio business, gaining listeners and advertisers to the station. Being single and flirtatious, Jerry enjoyed talking with ladies who called in during his show. During one on-air conversation, he flirted with a listener and his signature tag line, “Big Daddy Bring It On” was born.
Teaching shag dancing has been a wonderful experience for Jerry. Although he no longer competes, he attends competitions and is proud that many of his former students are competitors, professional dancers, and Hall of Fame members. He is excited to see so many young people taking up shagging and continuing the beach tradition that started back in the 1930s on the East Coast.
Jerry says, “Being inducted into the National Living Legends of Dance was the best moment of my life.” There were 25 inductees from all over the southeast at the ceremony, representing the best of the best in shag dancing. His daughter, Penny Hull, who also is an award-winning shag dancer with her husband, Mickey, commented, “This honor was way, way overdue.”
To seniors, Jerry advises: “Dancing is great exercise. It will keep you young and you will meet some great people who will become friends … it’s like a family. What we danced to in the 50s, we are dancing to today.”
Radio station WNNB, “Wonderful North Myrtle Beach,” is restarting after being off the air a number of years. Jerry looks forward to having a show on the station and can broadcast from his home in Lexington, where he has built a studio. He plans to bring back the Premier Shag Dance contests to give local dancers an opportunity to compete.
Jerry notes that dancing is also a great way to meet women. “So few men will get out on the dance floor. I hope to encourage more to come out to shag nights.” Dancing has kept Jerry young … and young at heart.
And to think … It all started with Elvis.
Listen to Jerry at www.BigDaddyBringItOn.com. For more information about the local shag dance scene, email Jerry Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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