Bill Klein & Western Star Dancers

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Bill taught the first two Western Star Mainstream classes, both in 1982. Scott and I were in his first; the second one graduated in December 1982, when the attached class/club photo was taken. Bill was not a teacher or caller; he was an experienced Challenge-level dancer who had resolved to help us out after we split from Foggy City Squares as run by Skip Barrett at that time, which used a singing-call only, non-Callerlab format.
Bill approved of our determination to learn to square dance the way everyone else did outside of Skip's high-energy bubble, including gay clubs in other cities and local straight ones. But it wasn't easy, since our record collection consisted of singing calls only (the Jack Lasry hash series came later), so to fully learn the calls from both positions, we had to learn both roles right off the bat. This was tricky for many dancers, and Bill's patience often wore thin. He was a natural martinet with a sarcastic streak, and on more than one occasion I had to remind myself that he had the knowledge I wanted to acquire, so I needed to just buckle down, focus and hold my tongue.
I learned later from Scott Carey that despite outward appearances, Bill was quite shy, and developed increasingly severe stage-fright as the classes wore on. Scott would give him pep talks and a good stiff drink to get him going, as I recall--but hopefully Scott will chime in with a more accurate account. In any case, this side of Bill was quite a contrast to his mad leather queen side, but he was a complex and multi-faceted man, and an excellent dancer. One quote from him I still remember, and repeat when appropriate: during our first class, when one dancer complained about the number of dancers who were (with Bill's approval) regularly switching roles and getting him confused as to whether they were man or woman at any given moment, Bill replied, "It shouldn't matter whether it's a man, a woman or a Hanukkah bush coming at you--just do your part of the call correctly by definition and it will all work out."
--Russ King