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Members of the press welcome!
This is where you can learn more about the 40th IAGSDC convention that will be taking place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in July of 2023.
Read on to learn more about the event and the people who are behind it and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.
LGBTQ+ individuals have historically found it difficult to participate in the “straight” square dance world and have often been made to feel like they didn’t belong there.
While they are finding more and more acceptance in modern times, it was not the case back in the early ’80s when the IAGSDC was formed to help promote the sport and to give LGBTQ+ dancers a place where they could be themselves and dance with their peers without fear of persecution or prejudice.
The result is a quasi parallel world of square dancing that has evolved alongside the rest of the square dance world but that includes a great deal of cooperation between the straight and gay clubs.
LGBTQ+ square dancers tend to be a bit younger and more affluent than their straight counterparts and they dance with quite a bit more energy and flair, making them the envy of many when they attend straight events.
The International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs is the administrative body that encompasses all LGBTQ+ square dance clubs in the world. It has members from Canada, the US, Europe and Asia and currently supports 57 clubs.
The IAGSDC holds a convention every year where club delegates can participate in workshops and meetings to discuss aspects of square dancing but the biggest reason for convention is for LGBTQ+ square dancers (and allies) to get together to dance to some amazing internationally renown callers and to socialize with their peers.
Yearly attendance at convention has ranged from almost 800 to over 1,100 dancers.
Note: Last year’s convention in Denver was online only due to COVID-19 and did not require registration so we have no numbers for it but the Zoom sessions were heavily attended.
Ottawa has never hosted an IAGSDC convention so we have reason to believe that attendance at Ottawa 2023 will be high due to the novelty of the venue as well as the renewed desire to dance after this pandemic is over.
A picture is worth a thousand words and this is true about square dancing. It’s hard to understand gay square dancing unless you’ve seen it.
The 2019 IAGSDC convention took place in Philadelphia and CBS Philly reported on it:
The Ottawa Date Squares is an LGBTQ+ square dance club based in Ottawa, Ontario. They have existed since 1995 and are full members of the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs (IAGSDC) and the Eastern Ontario Square and Round Dance Association.
Over the years they have hosted several “fly-in” events which bring in dancers from all around the region and also from cities in the USA. The club features dancers of different ages, genders and sexual orientations and has very strong ties to other IAGSDC clubs and to other local EOSARDA groups as well.
The Date Squares are very heavily involved in the organization of the Ottawa 2023 convention but unlike other conventions that are organized by the local city’s IAGSDC club alone, Ottawa 2023 is a joint effort between several different clubs including the Toronto Triangle Squares and the Cornwall Swinging B’s. Bringing in expertise from other clubs will ensure that this convention will be one of the best ever held.
The IAGSDC has held conventions in Toronto and Vancouver (twice in each city) but this will be the first time it is held in Ottawa. The novelty of the new location and the charm of the nation’s capital is sure to peak the interest of our American cousins and we expect much greater attendance than in past years.
This event will showcase the rich diversity that exists within the LGBTQ+ community in Ottawa and it is expected to have long lasting positive effects on the community as a whole.
In an age where more and more people are turning to social media and dating apps to make connections, gay square dancing is just the thing to help bring people together in the real world… face to face.
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