Door County Folk Festival
Paul Collins
Skokie, IL (Chicago Area)

(Director, Planner, Dance Instructor/Leader, Virtual Dance Room Team)


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Paul Collins began dancing with his parents at the age of eight and has been an ethnic folk dance leader and square/contra dance caller since high school. While dancing with his parents' adult group, he had the opportunity to call his first square dance at the age of 12.

Paul has been a guest teacher and caller at dances from the North Country to the Deep South and has even called squares and taught folk dancing for the hearing impaired at Gallaudet University in Washington. DC.

Paul led the University of Chicago Folk Dance Club for many years and introduced squares and contras into the group's repertoire. After directing the U of C Folk Dancers' Annual Fall "International Folk Festival" for twelve years, Paul joined Gerhard Bernhard in producing the Door County Folk Festival ( and two years later became a festival co-director.
Paul and Bill Sasso started the Mid-North Folk Dance Club that has evolved into Ethnic Dance Chicago ( and Ethnic Dance Connection (

Through Ethnic Dance Connection, Paul presents ethnic dance programs for students in elementary, middle and high schools, in colleges in universities, and in tutoring programs and scouting and community organizations.

Paul offers residency programs to select schools, where he helps students prepare ethnic dance presentations for their school's International Festivals, Multi-Cultural Fairs, Diversity Days, etc.

Beyond the the world of dance, Paul is a strategic consultant who helps organizations implement innovation by integrating collaborative technologies with collective decision-making strategies. He is an interpersonal communications strategies coach and is a founder and director of the Midwest Facilitators' Network and the Chicago Chapter of the International Association of Facilitators.

Paul founded the Virtual Dance Room ( at the beginning of the pandemic and for three years (2020-2022) has recruited highly capable teams of dance instructors and leaders to deliver high qualityand high fun virtual dance sessions as well as three virtual editions of the Door County Folk Festival.