Utah’s non-profit, gay and lesbian square dance club, the Temple Squares, will offer Beginning Mainstream Square Dance classes starting Sept. 10. Held each Friday night at the Columbus Community Center from 7–9 p.m.; all singles and couples are welcome to join the group and learn square dancing basics. No experience is encouraged. Dancers should wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and the Temple Squares will provide the music and the instruction.
“Gay square dancing is high energy dancing,” said Ross Lopton, caller for the Temple Squares. “We welcome anyone interested in Modern Western Square Dance to give it a try. It’s not what you remember from junior high and definitely not your grandma’s square dancing!”
People of all races, religions, ages, gender identities and sexual orientations are welcome. All varieties of music are used and the beginning steps are easy to learn and necessary for learning more advanced steps.
“A great thing about our group is that it’s not necessary to bring a dance partner,” added Lopton.
For the last two years, Temple Squares have been recruiting at the Utah Pride Festival. Word of mouth and enthusiasm for the dance has grown the group to include lesbians, straight allies, past square dancing aficionados and newbies eager to learn the dance and participate in physical activity. It is also a great way to meet other active Salt Lake residents and make new friends.
Temple Squares is a member of the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs, the umbrella organization supporting gay and lesbian Modern Western Square Dance clubs in the United States, Canada and Japan. The IAGSDC holds a square dance convention each year in a North American city.
The IAGSDC was formed in 1983 when straight callers decided they would not permit gay or lesbian couples to participate in square dancing. The Gay Callers Association taught gays and lesbians how to call square dancing so that gay clubs would have a person who knew and taught the standard dances to the community. Today, the IAGSDC holds a national conference and The Gay Callers Association sponsors a calling school at the annual convention.
The Columbus Center is located at 2498 S. 500 East, South Salt Lake City. For additional information including dance schedules and events, visit Temple Squares at www.templesquares.org or contact Ross Lopton at 801-309-6720, [email protected], or Roque Salas at 801-896-3508, [email protected]