Valley Village, CA
Paul, a third generation Californian, first became interested in square dancing during his senior year in high school when he took a beginners class with the Conejo Swingers, a teen club in Thousand Oaks. Although the class started in February 1972, he decided to try his hand (voice?) at calling, and started a calling class the following December a scant nine months later
Dancing has always been an important part of his life. Over the years this has included participation in international folk dancing, square dancing, round dancing, international style competitive ballroom dancing, clogging, contra and country western. Coming close to completing twenty-eight years of calling, Paul calls though C-2 and dances through C-3b. Presently he teaches the beginners classes for the Tinseltown Squares of Los Angeles as well as calling dances for local clubs and out-of-town engagements. Some as close as San Diego and Sacramento, and others as far away as Cleveland, Ohio and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (for Les Carrés aux Dattes d’Ottawa-Hull Date Squares – try saying that three times fast).
Square dancing is very much a family affair, as Paul’s mother, Peggy Sanchis-Waters, better known as “Mom” to upwards of 100 of the locals, is also an avid participant on the gay square dance scene.
Always one to look for interesting ways to ply the square dance trade, a unique opportunity presented itself this last Summer when Paul was the caller for a square dance segment on CBS’s “Big Brother” show. This involved restructuring the activity to accommodate six dancers instead of the usual eight, teaching remotely via a television monitor without any direct interaction with the participants, and tailoring a routine that would both accommodate the needs of the television broadcast while simultaneously presenting the activity in a positive light, and-incorporating gay styling as part of the routine so those of us “in the know” would recognize that the gay square dance part of the activity was represented in this segment.
Paul is also very involved with the Pride movement, being the founder of two Pride events; in 1998 Simi Valley Pride, and in 2000 LA/Valley Pride. He is also the President of the Consolidated Association of Pride (CAPI), an association of Pride events in California, and four other western states.
On the personal side of his life, Paul came out to himself in early July, 1992 and the world a scant fourteen days later. Never one to do things in half measures, this meant being the guest of honor at a “Coming Out Party,” and getting active in local politics. These days sporting a beard and a mustache, he also counts a fine husband, Kevin Voecks, among one of the most treasured things in his life.
When not calling or working, Paul likes keeping up with personal computer technology, doing step-aerobic classes to hold off the ravages of time, collecting interesting friends and generally enjoying life to the fullest.