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 the past, there were three clubs in the LA area: Tinseltown Squares, Golden State Squares, and Royalty Squares. They were fairly close in proximity. 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 active in the square dance community in Southern California at that time. The three area clubs were planning to form a consortium 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. In the spring of the next year, 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 and later, 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 proud 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!