Debbie Williams is not a professional dancer, nor does she have a background in dance; however, every Thursday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., her and several others get together for some fun, music, and line dancing.
What started almost 10 years ago has become a Thursday night staple at the Harrison Building in Ripley. “Thursday’s Line Dance Class” has become the highlight and relaxation needed for several people in Jackson County and surrounding counties.
Williams originally started line dancing almost 20 years ago and participated in a class at Jamboree in Fairplain. Years later, the instructors decided to leave, and the building was eventually sold. She knew that was not going to stop her from doing what she had enjoyed so much.
After speaking with others who wanted to continue dancing, she decided to start her own line dance class.
Finding a location was the tricky part for Williams. She has used schools and senior centers, but could not find a home for her group.
Mayor Carolyn Rader graciously offered the use of the Harrison Building and that is where the group now meets every Thursday.
With a group 15 to 18 “faithful” participants of all ages, Williams enjoys instructing as well as learning new dances to all genres of music.
Williamses class dances for fun, but once a month, they visit local nursing homes to provide entertainment for the residents.
“They absolutely love it,” Williams said. “It makes them smile.”
Recently, Williams and her class have taken their dancing skills and put them toward helping others by hosting fundraisers for the Jackson County Troop Link.
Jackson County Troop Link is a nonprofit organization that sends monthly care packages to local troops deployed overseas in combat zones.
Williams charges a $3 fee per class that is used to help with expenses, allowing all funds collected from the actual events to go towards the cause.
The first fundraiser for Jackson County Troop Link was hosted in May of this year. Williams said they were able to give Troop Link $300 and numerous donations of items collected to be used in the care packages.
“Thursday’s Line Dance Class” will be hosting their second fundraiser, “Support the Troops Night,” on Sept. 21 at Washington’s Riverfront Park in Ravenswood.
The event runs from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and the cost is $10 per person with children under 12 being free.
The Mixx Band will provide the music and Williams and her class will provide the dancing.
“We can dance, you can sit and listen to music, bring your lawn chair, and just come out and have a good time,” Williams said.
Maka Mia Pizza Subs & Pub in Ripley has donated three $25 gift cards that will be awarded and a 50/50 drawing will also take place.
All funds received, after expenses, will be given to Jackson County Troop Link.
For more information or to register for “Support the Troops Night,” call 304-532-5691.
To join Williamses dance class, she encourages people to just “show up” any Thursday evening at the Harrison Building. All levels of line dance from beginner to professional are welcome.