In Photos: English Country Dancing In Gainesville


Randy Thorp and his partner, Annette Merritt, started the Gainesville English Country Dance in 2010.

Now, each session attracts between 20 to 50 dancers.

Every Monday from 7 to 9:30 p.m., the main group meets at the United Church of Gainesville on Northwest Fifth Avenue. Beginner lessons start at 6:45 p.m.

The entry cost is a $5 donation.

The theme for the Monday’s gathering (shown below) was Easter and spring celebrations.

Older brother Kevin Shepherd holds Annette Merrit’s hand while younger brother Mark Shepherd (foreground) follows with his partner, Erin Koch. Kevin and Mark Shepherd come from Jacksonville every Monday with their families to take part in Gainesville English Country Dance.


John Monkus plays the recorder in the four-piece group the Hoggetowne Fancy, made up of Monkus’ recorder, a bouzouki, a guitar and percussion instruments. The group provides live music for the dance each week.


Susan Schaffer and George Feamster partner for the dance “Trip to Provence.” They’ve been part of Gainesville English Country Dance for more than a year.


Carol Shepherd (left) and Nikki Herbst partner for the dance “Spring in Sebastopol.” The dance has two-hand turns, and all the beginning moves have nine counts.


Randy Thorp, who co-founded Gainesville English Country Dance in 2010, calls out the dances. His one rule: to not take the dancing too seriously.


Each week, the names of the dances are written on a big board. The dancers and musicians put stars, smiley faces and a variety of other marks next to their favorite dances, and the most popular ones are repeated in future classes.

About Daniela Prizont-Cado

Daniela is a WUFT reporter who can be contacted via email at or Twitter @Dani_Prica.

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