New Hours and Location Agree with Summer Dancers

Weekly dance instruction is good for the spirit. But what’s a dancer to do when classes are over? Keep dancing, of course!

And so, our semi-monthly summer dances have begun, with a change in venue and time. For four Tuesdays, we are dancing on the 6th floor conference room of the Lenox Health Greenwich Village medical facility. Folks are making the best of the carpeting, kicking up their heels and kicking off their shoes if necessary. Betsy Gotta called on Jun 12, and Howard Richman called for our Rainbow Pride club night on the 26th.

Howard Richman, our own Rhinestone Caller.

We are starting, and finishing, 30 minutes earlier, which also makes for happy dancers. 7:00-9:00pm seems just the right time for getting enough dancing in without folks trickling out.  We hope the momentum continues throughout the summer.

If you haven’t danced with us this summer, your next chance is July 17 when Don Moger from Montreal will be calling. Be there AND be square.

Dancing at Lenox

Times Squares Board Minutes through June 2018 available

Times Squares Board Minutes for April 2018, May 2018 and June 2018 are now available.

April Minutes announce an increase in fees for A2/C1 dances from $10 to $15 starting in the Fall to cover operating expenses. We are in the process of purchasing a sandwich board to place on the sidewalk in front of PS 3 on the evenings we dance.

May Minutes announce results of our automated attendance procedures. Times Squares will offer a dance as part of Chain Down the Coast, a series of events from Boston to Philly before the IAGSDC Convention in Philly in July 2019. We will also host a Bon Voyage dance for a group of dancers who will be joining a square dance cruise leaving from Bayone, NJ in September. David Mee, the sponsor/caller will be calling for us that evening.

June Minutes feature a proposal by the DC Lambda Squares that we jointly sponsor a fly-in in 2019.

Toronto’s Triangle Squares hosts Pearl Promenade Fly-in

Pearls, Pearls, and more Pearls

Times Squares members Bill Wolff, Kian-Lam Kho and I attended Triangle Squares’ “Pearl Promenade” fly-in over Memorial Day in Toronto. Everyone was very friendly and we had great fun dancing to Vic Ceder and Don St. Jean, their club caller.

What really impressed me were the decorations. It was a weekend of pearls, pearls, and more pearls. The gym at the school where we danced was cut in half with one door leading to one hall and the adjacent door to the other. The doors were decorated like St. Peter’s pearly gates and you were ushered into square dance heaven by one of the angelic callers. The gym walls themselves were painted with silhouettes of athletes who wore pearl accessories for the weekend.

The Pearly Gates

In the hallway there was a photo spot where you could dress up like the Girl with the Pearl Earring by the Dutch Golden Age painter,  Johannes Vermeer.

The Girl (?) with the Pearl Earring

Remembering Nivia Cruz

Our friend Nivia Cruz has died. A square dancer of indomitable spirit, she brought gaiety to every occasion, and to many Times Squares events.

Born in Cuba, she was raised in Holguin, a city in the province of Oriente. As a young girl, she came to this country and met fellow Cuban Tom Alamo, with whom she had a lifelong friendship of laughing and dancing.

Nivia was a wonderful cook and an enthusiastic hostess. She loved entertaining a constant flow of friends at the weekend home in Pennsylvania she shared with her long time love, and eventual wife Nadine Posner. This home provided Nivia a platform for themed parties, cookouts, dinners and many warm memories.

When not square dancing, Nivia enjoyed dancing Salsa a few times a week. Sometimes on the same Saturday night, she would finish a Combo Dance at PS3, only to head uptown to Salsa the night away with Nadine. It can be truly said that Nivia was a party girl as she used any excuse to have one, including snow storms, hurricanes and blackouts.

Times Squares will surely miss Nivia’s generous spirit, engaging laugh and joy of living.

DREAM 2018

Over one hundred dancers attended DREAM 2018 (Dancers Recruiting Educating and Motivating) sponsored by the NNJSDA last Saturday. Six Times Squares members attended including Susan G., Marshall B., Jeff E., Peter S., Kian K. and me. There were also three dancers from our sister club in Philadelphia, Independence Squares.

I attended two workshops. The first was given by Roy Gotta and addressed ways to talk “up” square dancing. When he gave examples of how we often talk about our activity to non-dancers, I cringed a little because that’s exactly how I talk. When he rephrased what we often say, I was amazed at how much more positive it sounded! The other session I attended was about Graduation and Graduation Ceremonies. The presenter shared an online article, Abandoning Graduation Ceremonies, that suggested that we do away with graduation ceremonies altogether as it gives new dancers a convenient opportunity to stop dancing. One club in the NNJSDA has its graduation ceremony three weeks before the last class so that the dancers have to come back to finish the lessons.


Learn How to Help Your Club at DREAM 2018

If you care about the fate of Times Squares, but don’t know what to do, here’s an opportunity to learn how to help. The Northern New Jersey Square Dance Association is hosting a day of seminars and workshops entitled: DREAM 2018 – Dancers Recruiting, Educating, And Motivating. The workshops start at 1 PM on Saturday, May 5th in Clark, NJ and will be followed by an evening of dancing with callers Mike Kellogg, from California, and our own Betsy Gotta. Click here for full details.


Many of the workshops directly address issues crucial to the fate of our club. For example, Retaining Your Dancers and the Social Aspects of Square Dancing (Beyond the Dance Floor) will discuss how you balance activities for both new and seasoned dancers that build social relationships crucial to continued growth. With so many things to do in New York City, retention is a big concern for our club.


Do you ever get strange looks when you mention that you square dance? Talking “Up” Square Dancing, will share strategies for encouraging friends and colleagues to take lessons and join a club.


Enticing Club Members to Become Leaders. Many clubs have folded despite good attendance and a healthy treasury because no one wants to help run the club. Learn how to reframe the tasks so that dancers don’t arrive as the first tip starts and leave just before cleanup. As Times Squares’ membership shrinks so does the number of dancers willing to lead the club.


To Graduate or Not: Alternatives and Solutions is a roundtable discussion of approaches to respectfully handling the faithful new dancers who may not be “ready to launch” at the conclusion of the lessons. A struggling graduate is more likely to drop out than continue.

If you’ve decided to take a more active role in supporting Times Squares this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the issues surrounding our club’s survival. If you need transportation or want to register, please contact Warren Livesley at

Promenade Back to May Flowers Combo Dance and Potluck Dinner May 19th

Join us on Saturday, May 19th for our next Combo Dance with nationally ranked Canadian caller, Barry Clasper. If you attended Independence Squares’ recent fly-in, then you have already had a chance to dance to his excellent calling.

If there’s a combo dance you don’t want to miss, it’s this one!

Spring is in the air; flowers are colorfully blooming across the city. So let’s dance, and bring some pizzazz to our club. Colorful floral attire encouraged.

Last year, we hosted a Promenade Back Home dance and this year we also encourage members past and present to come back and dance with us. We’re also offering a simple Prom experience (a Promette?) for our recent graduates after dinner. Let’s show them a good time.

The potluck planned in March will take place at this dance. Look for signup sheets and volunteer announcements very soon.

Skip Rognlien, founding member of Times Squares, has passed away

Skip Rognlien lived in Wheeler, Oregon. He died on April 5 and was 83 years old. He was a founding member of the club, served as its president from 1985-1986, and was a co-chair of the 1989 IAGSDC convention, Peel the Big Apple, which was held in New York City. He was also the person who first introduced the application of rhinestones to club paraphernalia.

If you would like to make a donation to a charity in his honor, Skip was particularly fond of these two non-profits: The Point Foundation (a national LGBTQ scholarship fund) and The Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon.

Times Squares Board Minutes through February 2018 available

Times Squares Board Minutes for December 2018, the 2018 Annual Meeting, January 2018 and February 2018 are now available.

The Times Squares Membership Directory for 2018 has been distributed. If you did not receive your copy, or if there are any errors, please contact Warren Livesley at, and he will forward you one or fix your entry.

Peel the Pumpkin 2018 “Under the Big Top” has already registered 54 dancers. T-shirts are available for sale. They are a great way to advertise this event when you are dancing with other clubs. So buy one online now and wear it often.

We are hosting an “Bon Voyage” dance at PS 3 on September 28, 2018. David Lee, a caller from California, is organizing a square dance cruise leaving from Bayonne, NJ. He has never called for us, so we are looking forward to dancing with him. Also, many of the dancers going on the cruise will also be attending, so the hall should be packed and the energy level high. So mark your calendar.

Join us for our March Madness”Mad Hatter” Potluck Combo Dance with Chris Stacey

Please note that there is a change of venue for this combo dance. P.S. 3 is not available and we’re dancing at Pearl Studio instead. We will not be able to host a potluck dinner during this dance. Sorry for the inconvenience. Since there will not be potluck dinner our dance, here are some nearby restaurants you can explore.

Join us on Saturday, March 17th for our next Combo Dance with nationally ranked Virginia caller, Chris Stacey. With only four combo dances this year, and each one will be special!

We’re planning a great potluck meal between afternoon and evening dance sessions for our “Mad Hatter” dance. If you’re a great cook, or even if you can’t remember where your kitchen is, we’re sure everyone will bring something good to the table. If you’d rather not be faced with 13 bean salads and 35 desserts you can help us balance the meal by contacting Howard Handler, or any board member, to tell us what you’d like to bring.  It’s so nice to share a meal and catch up with friends we may only see on the dance floor.

You are also invited to celebrate March Madness by wearing your craziest hat! We’ll have a contest to see whose is the “craziest”, so wear your best hat, bonnet, head gear, etc. For all those leprechauns out there, since it’s St. Patrick’s Day you can wear a green hat if you want.