Times Squares

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Times Squares.png

Location: New York, NY, USA

Website: http://timessquares.nyc

Started: 1984

Admitted to IAGSDC: 26 May 1985 as Full Member

Status: Active


In The Beginning...
From the Program Book for the 2nd IAGSDC Convention, held in Denver in 1985
On a November Saturday in 1983, while the disco crowd was primping for a night at The Saint, New York's gay outdoor club, Sun dance, held a square dance. At the end of the evening, when the caller asked if people wanted to hold another, gay square dancing in New York was born with a thundering cowboy yell.
The dances sputtered through the winter. The first caller, a member of Sundance who used to dance in Oregon, left New York for more exotic places. The second, who had called for the school children where he taught and for New York's gay seniors group, stuck it out. After several more dances and hundreds of left allemandes, some of us began to wonder if there wasn't more. The few of us who had danced before knew there was more, but without music, teaching expertise, or knowledge of the CALLERLAB program, turning a series of one-night stands into a square-dance club seemed hopelessly formidable.
At the end of summer, things started to take shape. We heard about gay square dancing in other parts of the country. One of us visited the Mustangs in Florida. Another visited the clubs in Seattle. We came back surging with ideas and excitement. We got together a group for a brainstorm session. We found a hall, hit the bars with flyers, put notices in the gay press, and corralled our friends. On October 24, 1984, our beginners' class was underway.
Times Squares is the only modern Western square-dance club of any kind in Manhattan. We dance on the Great White Way just off Times Square ~ hence our name.
From the Program Book of the 10th IAGSDC Convention, held in Seattle, WA in 1993:
The Times Squares began when Mark Davis remembered a barn dance in Indiana that he once attended with his aunt and uncle. He placed an article in the October 1983 Sundance newsletter soliciting others who might be interested in giving the activity a try in the gay and lesbian context. On November 12, 1983, New York's first gay and lesbian square dance was held, quickly followed on January 6, 1984 by a second event.
In the late winter or early spring, the late George Lanyi, a Western Star Dancer, visited New York with news of the greater world of gay square dancing, and the then-upcoming convention being planned, in April for Seattle. On October 24, 1984, the first beginner class started, involving 19 people. By the class closing night of November 14th, 34 people showed up. Virtually the whole club (32 people) attended the 1985 convention in Denver.
In the spring of 1987, The Times Squares began "invading the straight square dance world," attending the first New Jersey State Square and Round Dance Convention, a tradition the club continues up to the present time. In January of 1989, three dancers timidly ventured out to the January Jubilee to dance as openly gay, same sex couples (it was difficult with only 3), where they were overjoyed to team up with members of the DC Lambda Squares, the Chesapeake Squares, and the Independence Squares to show their stuff. Thus were the beginnings of The Ad Hoc Education and Outreach Committee, who paved the way for openly gay dancers to attend all of the major East coast and Midwest festivals, culminating last year in our first appearance at the National Square Dance Convention.
In 1989, as a culmination of over three years hard work, PEEL THE APPLE, the 6th IAGSDC Convention was hosted by The Times Squares. Our pride in this achievement is enormous.
Times Squares is often heralded as the largest gay square dance club. With a membership hovering around 300, we certainly are big. In actuality, we probably alternate having the distinction of being the largest club with SATB.
We have found that dancing as the Times Squares, from mainstream to C-1 club, and to C-3 as individuals, is a wonderful way to make friends, both within and beyond the gay and lesbian community. The club takes seriously its responsibility to encourage the development of talented young callers, and thus provides a scholarship fund to foster attendance at caller schools. Our classes, club nights, social dances, and quarterly special weekends feature noted national callers, the most notable being the Halloween weekend Peel the Pumpkin, provide a wealth of opportunities for New York area dancers and visitors to enjoy themselves.

Media Features:

Classes: Tuesdays: Mainstream Thursday: Advanced & C1 Workshops

Club Caller[s]: Nick Martellacci, Betsy Gotta, Howard Richman, Ron Masker, Geo Jedlicka

Levels: Mainstream - C1

Dance Location[s]: PS3, 490 Hudson Street, New York, NY

Fly-Ins Hosted:

Conventions Hosted: