“Several community leaders [took classes in January],” Hollingshed said. “One couple in particular [was] getting married in June and they used this as an opportunity to learn to dance prior to their wedding reception. They were just really excited about it and other couples [were] as well.
“It seems like at first the men were a little hesitant about wanting to learn, but after the first session or two the men seemed to be more excited than the women. And, of course, the women were really proud of the fact that they were enjoying it, because it’s a time for them to kind of rebond and do something social together.”
With each offered for four consecutive weeks, foxtrot classes will be held on Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m., tentatively beginning March 11, and swing lessons will be conducted on Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m., starting March 13. The cost is $90 per couple and $60 for an individual.
For Cartersville resident Patty Sheffield, taking swing classes with her husband, Steve, in January and February was a fun experience that they could partake in together.
“My husband and I took them together so that we could dance a little bit better,” Sheffield said. “... The instructor was fantastic because if you didn’t hear or comprehend one way he was able to word it and illustrate it a different way. So you didn’t feel like the village idiot that just couldn’t get it.
“He would show you. So he would step aside and maybe dance with a partner. So you would watch it, you would observe. Then he would give you a way to do it that made sense to you.”
Prior to the venue opening in December 2013, Gilreath Hall’s building was restored under Hollingshed’s guidance. Located at 10 W. Main St. in Cartersville, the circa 1879 building previously served as hardware store and stained glass shop.
“The focus for the venue is ... music and entertainment simply because of the large space,” Hollingshed said, adding the facility also is available for special events, such as wedding receptions. “It’s got like 4,500 square feet of heart pine flooring on the first floor and the acoustics are just perfect for music.
“I think I’m filling a real niche that’s needed in Cartersville, especially with the popularity of [Cartersville Dances] with the Stars,” he said, referring to the March 1 benefit that raised money for the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter and the city of Cartersville and Bartow County schools’ homeless education programs. “They used my venue for some practice sessions and then a couple of weeks before the final last weekend, they all came for sort of like a dress rehearsal.
“They found it to be a great space as well, because it’s just a big floor, wide open and plenty of room to move around. There’s few venues actually in northwest Georgia that have that size of a dance floor.”
For more information about registering for the foxtrot or swing classes, contact Hollingshed at 770-402-6742.