Justin Russell has been in the square dance activity since 2000. He took lessons with his grandmother, mom, dad, and brother and finished learning the mainstream program in 2001. Friends from church got him to come to that first beginner dance, but no one knew it would become his passion. In June 2003, he attended his first Caller School in Tyler, TX with Jon & Deborah Carroll-Jones, Vernon Jones, and Jerry Story.
Justin has attended ten National Square Dance Conventions (NSDC) and six CALLERLAB Conventions. His travels have also allowed him to call in over twenty states.
Justin currently calls for Top Spinners in Eads, Pistols & Petticoats in Bartlett, and Cotton Pickin’ Squares in Memphis. He travels when possible calling both Modern Square Dances as well as Beginner (Party Night) Dances. Justin is passionate about teaching new dancers about the activity!
Currently, Justin is the Chairman of the Youth Committee for CALLERLAB with a focus on training other young dancers to pick up the microphone. Because he offers a different, younger perspective, Justin has served on several panels and roundtables at the NSDC and CALLERLAB Conventions. In 2015, he became the youngest person elected to CALLERLAB’s Board of Governors serving a three year term.
In 2006, Justin spent the summer in Denver, CO calling for the Colorado Rocky Mountain Dancers, an exhibition group representing the Llyod Shaw era of dancing. During this time, Justin learned the valued history and tradition of this activity. He stills performs with the group when possible.
In 2008, Tony Oxendine and Jerry Story asked him to record for Royal Records. In October 2008, Justin went to Oak Valley Studio in Nashville to record “Free Ride” with the award winning engineer Kevin McManus. His first singing call was nominated for the Bob Osgood “Singing Call of the Year” Award in 2011. Justin has also recorded at The Grove at Hope Presbyterian Church in Memphis. In 2012, Bob Elling approached him to record a couple songs on Riverboat Records.
Justin’s goal is to blend the tradition of square dancing with the twenty-first century. He graduated from the University of Memphis in May 2011 with a degree in political science with a minor in Sociology. Justin currently works full-time for First Tennessee bank and travels whenever possible.