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  • Jennifer Donovan

Discover Downtown Gloversville Blog

Dancing with New Friends at The Shoeleather Express

It was a blustery windy day on March 19th, but the Shoeleather Express Dance Center’s floor was hot with a dozen dancers stepping to upbeat tunes in the forms of square and round dancing in Gloversville.

Under the direction of Elaine Mikes and Dennis Viscanti, participants not only came from Gloversville, but from Rotterdam, Malta and beyond. Previous dances brought people in from Connecticut and Massachusetts. The building in Gloversville is the former Trinity Episcopal Church and Elaine and Dennis put in the beautiful hardwood dance floor in the main hall, where at the very end is the enormous couch from the 1990s PBS show “The Big Comfy Couch.”

Elaine and Dennis have been at the 31 Spring Street location since 2011. Their mission is to introduce square and round dancing in a fun way and to cultivate the next generation of dancers. Square and round dance clubs were once numerous in Fulton County and now Elaine and Dennis are carrying the torch for newcomers to follow. It should be noted that Elaine and Dennis are also participating in the 72nd Annual National Square Dance Convention, held this year in Alabama, and will proudly represent Fulton County at the event.

Wednesdays are typically dedicated to private lessons made by appointment and Thursdays evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. are lessons for all. Elaine describes lessons as, “Just like getting ready for a basketball game, we want people to come practice, practice, practice and learn the steps before the big dance.” Dances are a full afternoon affair with a workshop for beginners learning the basics of square dancing, a potluck lunch to socialize, and then a regular square dance with “alternating mainstream/plus tips and PH 2-4 Rounds.” The next dance in Gloversville is slated for Saturday, April 1st, with the theme of April Fool's Clown Dance. It will be held from noon to 4:30pm.

On March 19th, the dance hall was full of Irish music with a St. Patrick’s Day theme and also saw two beginners joining the fun. The regular dancers welcomed them in and were incredibly supportive of them learning while dancing. All were invited to come to the dance that will be held on April 22nd that will celebrate Toni Cilberti’s 98th birthday.

Elaine was excited to report The Shoeleather Express will be a sponsor of the Gloversville Rail Fest on Aug, 12th and will be hosting a square and round dance demonstration and dancing in the pavilion at Rail Station Park from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also in August, Mike Sikorsky and the Mid-Atlantic Callers College will be held at The Shoeleather Express facility in Gloversville on Aug. 21 – Aug. 24. In addition to learning the art of calling, each student gets at least three hours of mic time.

For more information on these programs, or to take a lesson, call Elaine and Dennis at (518) 225-1405, or email them at The They can also be found online at and at website


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