Admitted to IAGSDC: 01 Jul 1989 as Full Member
The Independence Squares was founded in 1988 by teacher/caller Mr. Allan Laufer and a brave group of Philadelphians. Some of these people were recruited through the fledgling Country-Western dance community beginning in the area. Classes were in Philadelphia, and dances were in New Hope, Pennsylvania. From the beginning, the Independence Squares was a mixed group of gay and lesbian dancers (with a smattering of straight folk!) from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. As the club became more organized, we sought and obtained non-profit corporate status in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1991.
- From the Program Book of the 10th IAGSDC Convention, held in Seattle, WA in 1993:
- Independence Squares was founded by Alan Laufer. In 1988, as a renegade from the Times Squares in New York, he decided it was time that gay and lesbian square dancing debuted in Philadelphia. With the aid of newspaper ads, word-of-mouth, and the assistance of angels that had been misplaced by the Chesapeake Squares, Alan launched Philly's first gay and lesbian square dance class, Meeting in a converted parish house near the University of Pennsylvania, square dancers soon became a regular part of the Monday night crowd in University City, as the sounds of Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes filled the air.
- By January of the following year, a second beginners' class had begun. On July 22,1989 brand new mainstream dancers descended on NYC to PEEL THE APPLE and the IAGSDC family as the Independence Squares! However, our first graduation celebration would not be held until January of 1990--with Ann Uebelacker calling, I might add. (So, just how long do you think Betsy Ross took to plan HER parties??!)
- Our first Board of Directors was elected in September of 1989 and we incorporated in May,1991. Our very first board began planning a fly-in in 1989 and it arrived on Easter weekend, 1993. (O.K., if Betsy had REALLY taken so long as we do, George would never have gotten his flag and Prince Edward might now be our club caller. Hmmm ...) Considering the trio of callers present for the first ever Philadelphia Freedom fly-in, it was well worth the wait. (No, I'm not going to tell you who was there; if you were one of the 200+ dancers present you already know and if you missed it, you might roll over and die of disappointment.)
- Since our humble beginning in 1989, we've graduated 6 plus classes, 2 advanced classes, and innumerable, but always memorable, mainstream classes. Our current membership is about 50--we export a lot.
In fall 2011, we will be offering classes in Mainstream, Plus and C1, along with A2 and C1 workshops.
Advanced/Challenge: Betsy Gotta
Mainstream through C1
Our primary dance location is at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion at 2111 Sansom Street in Philadelphia.