PHOTO GALLERY: Jim Thaxter calls a contra dance
July 22, 2012 | 4:12 p.m. CDTJim Thaxter calls a contra dance Friday. Contra dance is a type of dance similar to square dancing. Thaxter said it is a great way to interact with other people who love to dance.
Jim Thaxter calls dance terms at the beginning of the Watermelon Dance and Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers' annual meeting Friday at First Christian Church. Contra dance is a type of dance akin to square dancing and dates back more than 200 years. Thaxter will be calling an Old Time Barn Dance during the Boone County Fair on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room. | Carrie Durkee
Jim Thaxter teaches new and long-time dancers how to complete the various moves before a song begins Friday at First Christian Church. His favorite part of calling is teaching new people the basic moves. He said he likes to start easy and watch people grasp the idea of contra dance. | Carrie Durkee
Jim Thaxter speaks with 32Bartenders, the live band, about what type of song the group needs for the dance Friday at First Christian Church. Rebecca Logan, left, Tom Verdot and Thom Howard make the new band incorporating guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, flute and the penny whistle. | Carrie Durkee
Jim Thaxter watches as the dancers find partners and learn the initial steps to the next song on Friday at First Christian Church. Thaxter has been dancing contra or square dance for 35 years and calling both for 23 years. He "just kinda stumbled into it" when he went to an open jam session to play banjo when he lived in Kansas City. | Carrie Durkee
Jim Thaxter calls and joins in the dance on Friday at First Christian Church. It took a couple years for him to develop the skill of calling. He has taught the other regular Columbia callers so he "wouldn't have to call all the time." This gives him the opportunity to enjoy dancing and playing the banjo with two different bands. | Carrie Durkee
Dancers complete a figure called "long lines forward and back" according to Jim Thaxter's direction on Friday at First Christian Church. Contra dancing allows for a group of people who like to dance to get together. Thaxter said, "Everyone is welcome and we're always open to beginners." | Carrie Durkee