It Began in January of 1951 when square dance clubs in the Bay Area received an invitation to attend a meeting to organize an association of square dance clubs. The success of the square dance associations in Southern California was already well known but as yet no association existed north of Fresno.
Representatives of 17 clubs met on February 4, 1951 at the San Leandro City Hall. Only 10 clubs had authorized their delegates to vote, 9 voted to organize. A committee was selected to draft a proposed set of bylaws and a nominating committee was chosen. On March 4, 1951 at the South San Francisco Elm Court Recreation Center delegates from 9 clubs adopted the association bylaws and officers were elected. The New Association was divided into three districts: District I that extended from San Francisco to San Jose, District II that included the whole East Bay, District III that covered Marin County. The name chosen was Northern California Square Dancers Association. Before the meeting was adjourned two more clubs requested and received membership. It was official, this organization of 11 clubs that would one day be one of the largest square dance associations in California.
In the next five years of its existence the NCSDA adopted policies and procedures that are still being followed. NCSDA sponsored dances were presented on a regular basis exposing the dancer to out-of-area callers that few clubs could have afforded individually. A quarterly membership card system was established and the Fifth Saturday Stampedes evolved. In August of 1954 the NCSDA was incorporated as a California not for Profit Corporation.
In 1954 the first two-day festival, called the Golden State Round Up, was held over the Memorial Day weekend. For twenty years square dancers flocked to the Oakland Auditorium over the Memorial Day weekend and by 1974 the need for more space was obvious and the Round Up moved to San Francisco. The Civic Auditorium was home for the Round Up the next ten years, and then with the opening of Oakland's new Convention Center, it was back to Oakland for the next 16 years where it all began. With the new century the Round Up is held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
In 1956 the newly named California Square Dance Council was reorganized and the NCSDA was among its first members. By 1964 the expense of traveling the long Distances to council meetings was the cause for the decision to withdraw. They rejoined in 1975 and members to present.
As new associations were formed NCSDA boundary lines receded, but always the roster of new member clubs continued to grow. The 110-club membership of the NCSDA reached its apex in 1984, within our ten districts, then caller's fees began spiraling along with climbing insurance rates. The Civic Center Act no longer seemed to apply to square dancers as school and recreation centers began charging larger and larger hourly rates for the use of halls for dancing. The economic crunch was beginning to take its toll.
Today the NCSDA lists 25 clubs, The fundamental principles adopted by the association in 1951 have stood the test of time and the NCSDA role in the square dance picture is just as vital today as it was in the beginning.
Report adopted May 21,1989
Joann and Ron Swanson
April 22, 2002