Genevieve "Genny" Taylor Shimer was born in 1913. As a school teacher in England in the 1940s, Genny brought English Country Dance to students as a means of teaching social graces and deportment, as well as rhythm and movement. Since then, English Country Dance has found more of a home in America than in England, with active English Country Dance groups in most major American cities, as well as in many smaller communities.
Genny, who was married to geologist / author John A. Shimer, devoted a large portion of her life to teaching English Country Dance and was a leading teacher of the English dance series in New York City and at Pinewoods Camp for over 40 years. Genny taught workshops throughout the United States and Canada, and regularly led sessions at Berea College's Christmas Country Dance School and at John C. Campbell Folk School. She did a great deal of work for the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), serving in time as National Director, Vice President, and President, and was coauthor, with Kate Van Winkle Keller, of The Playford Ball.
Between 1945 and 1972, Genny was a musician at the CDSS big spring festivals held at Barnard Hall or Hunter College. From 1973 to 1987, the CDSS became more focused as a national organization, and Genny was a leading teacher for the organization. Genny's students included Danny Hathaway and Chris Kermiet. Among Genny's contemporaties was May Gadd.
Genny died in 1990. That year, the CDSS created the Genevieve Shimer Publications Fund to honor her. The Fund is set up as a permanent revolving fund to pay the production costs of the Society's books and recordings whose income goes back into the Fund to be used for further projects. The CDSS also made a video, Genevieve Shimer (1913-1990), A Celebration of Her Life, in 1990.
Among Genny's publications is
- Drawing Children. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 1966.
- Field Guide to Landforms In the United States. John A. Shimer, drawings by Genevieve Shimer, maps by Erwin Raisz., 1972.
- The Playford Ball. With Kate Van Winkle Keller. 1990. (a.k.a. The Playford Ball: 103 Early Country Dances 1651-1820: As Interpreted by Cecil Sharp and His Followers. Reprint, 1994.)
Dances Genny taught include Childgrove, Christchurch Bells, Dublin Bay, Duke of Kent's Waltz, Elpping Forest, The Fine Companion, Gathering Peascods, Greelsleeves, Hit and Miss, Indian Queen, Jack's Health, Joy After Sorrow, Juice of Barley, Knole Park, Mis Sayer's Allemande, Picking Up Sticks, Saint Martins, Upon a Summer's Day, Yellow Lace, and Zephyrs and Flora.