Long Beach is at the southern end of Los Angeles County and is one of the three major LGBTQ communities in the Los Angeles Basin (the others being West Hollywood and Silverlake). In 1996 there were three clubs in the LA area: Tinseltown Squares, Golden State Squares, and Royalty Squares. They were fairly close in proximity. In the early months of that year, a group of five Long Beach square dancers said, “Why isn’t there a gay square dance club in Long Beach?” As it happened, Paul Waters was just bringing the Henzel plan to Southern California at that time. The three area clubs were planning to form a consortium to use the Henzel plan to promote lesbian and gay square dancing in Southern California. Paul worked with the five founders, encouraging them and providing guidance to them in forming the Long Beach club. Shoreline Squares was born.
The timing must have been right: with the initiative and hard work of the founders – Carol Brend, Jack Castiglione, Doug Cleaver, Bob Newman, and Rik Panero – and with names gathered by the consortium at local pride events we held our first class on September 12, 1996. In the spring of 1997 we graduated our first class of 16 dancers. Not bad for a club’s first year out! Proud and enthusiastic, many of the members attended their first IAGSDC convention in Las Vegas. Later in 1997 we hosted our first fly-in.
Shoreline Squares is still thriving. We strive to provide a pleasurable and welcoming environment that is supportive of our membership and the community in which we are based. We form a prideful assemblage of square dance and LGBTQ cultures and provide numerous, charitable appearances, demonstrations, Shoreline and inter-club dances and other events annually. We are honored by our long-term members and invigorated by our new ones!