California Caller’s College, Clovis, CA. – July 13-18, 2003
Silver State Caller’s College, Reno, NV. – November 17-21, 2005
Solono Corkers Club Caller 2 years
Square Generations Summer Club Caller 3 Years
Currently Caller for “Wild Bill’s Posse” A-1 Instruction Club in Reno, NV.
Calls thru MS, Contras, CDP, One niters
I come from the traditional dance world — contras and squares with live music and the old “if you can walk, you can dance” ethos. I’ve been an active dance caller ranging from New England to West Virginia for more than 25 years.
Family dances, dance parties, barn dances, wedding dances — those kinds of events are a specialty. Working with live music or with recordings, I create an environment where everyone feels good and participation levels are high.
I work closely with hosts/organizers to be sure to include all the elements that you want, and coach everyone in advance, create timelines where appropriate and generally work with you to create a fun, satisfying event.
I travel throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania PA, New York NY, Connecticut CT and Delaware DL, and further on special occasions.
Jim McKinney is based in southeast Michigan and specializes in teaching a variety of easy square dances, circle dances and longways set dances to people who have little or no dance experience. His friendly, easy-going style and clear explanations get everybody moving quickly and ensure everyone has a lot of fun. Jim’s fee includes a professional quality sound system and recorded music. He can also provide a live band for an additional fee. House parties, graduations, barn dances, hoedowns, hay rides, school groups, church groups, scout groups, wedding receptions and historic events are all great places to include old-time dancing.
Clients can expect a variety of dances beginning with the easiest and increasing to slightly less easy. All dances are selected with the intention that guests will succeed at them and have fun. Most dances can be danced by any combination of persons; gent/lady couples are not a requirement. The ability to tell left hands from right hands IS a requirement. All figures of every dance are explained with directions in plain English and a minimum of “dance lingo.” Jim McKinney is professional in appearance and demeanor. He arrives in time to set up his equipment without interfering with other events that may be on the program.
Insured through CALLERLAB. ASCAP and BMI rights to recorded music secured through CALLERLAB.
Jim McKinney started playing guitar in 1978, fiddle in 1987 and started dancing in 1988. He started playing for dances in 1992 and started teaching squares, circles, longways sets, contras and old-time dances in 2007. Jim enjoys and excels at teaching non-dancers how to dance. He teaches beginners what to do using plain English with a minimum of “dance lingo.” Jim can provide a sound system and recorded music or a live band, whichever best suits the client’s needs. Jim can dress in a suit and tie, “business casual” attire, Western wear or Civil War era historic clothing. Clients enjoy working with Jim because he recognizes that he is there to insure their event is a success and works to accommodate their needs.
I began calling live music traditional squares and contras in 2011 after calling club squares for twenty years. I always called club squares on phrase, so the transition to contra was smooth. I also organize a regular, live music barn dance, in Stafford, CT that includes many forms of traditional dance. As a dancer at Old Sturbrige Village, a living Museum in Massachusetts, I have learned to appreciate the rich heritage of contra dancing, and as a frequent New England contra dancer, I also appreciate the vitality of the modern dance scene. Whether it’s “Haste to the Wedding”, traditional, or “Hokus Pokus”, a more modern dance by Lisa Grrenleaf, expect to be spellbound by an exciting evening of contra dancing.
Contra Caller, Hoedown