By Vittoria Woodill


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some of us remember having to do a little square dancing in gym class. Believe it or not, there are some square dancing clubs and one of them stopped right here in Philadelphia on Thursday.

“We say square dancing is the most fun you can have standing up,” Independence Squares member Mary Kay Rohde said.

Proud and loud, these folks are hands raised and happy to take the dance floor in the Liberty Ballroom of the Philadelphia 201 Hotel. Because, for them, this is a family reunion that gets their feet moving.

And to the beat, for the first time, these dancers are setting foot in Philadelphia. They’re here for the 36th International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs Convention, called the Belle’s Run 2019.

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“It’s been in Palm Springs, Toronto — we are so thrilled that we were able to bring it here to Philadelphia,” Roy Wilbur, of the Independence Squares, said. “There are about 63 clubs from throughout the world that are members.”

Because all over the world, these people just wanted to dance with whoever they wanted.

“In the straight community, there has been a tradition, that you would go husband or wife and you would dress the same, and you would only dance with your husband or your wife throughout that evening,” Rohde said. “In gay square dancing, you can dance either as lead or follow, it makes no difference, we change partners throughout the night.”

“Over the years, we’ve lost a number of dancers, primarily due to AIDS, but now we’re getting to the point where we want to remember those who have danced with us over the years” Rohde said.

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When asked if she thought there was a significance between the Fourth of July date and the dancing, Rhode responded:

“I think for us it is, because we’re all inclusive and that’s what we hope the country would be,” she said.

Vittoria Woodill