Allan Hurst (12/14/60-) is a dancer, caller, and writer who lives in Sunnyvale, California. In 2003, he became legally married to his partner Randy Hensley in a wedding ceremony held during that year's Squares Across the Border Anniversary Fly-In held in Vancouver, BC.
Allan was born and raised in Chicago, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981, and is a member of the Bay Area clubs El Camino Reelers, Foggy City Dancers, and Midnight Squares, the Vancouver BC club Squares Across the Border, Chicago's Chi-Town Squares, and a founding member of Salt Lake City's Temple Squares. He is also a member of Heads to the Center.
To say that Allan is heavily involved in GLBT square dancing would be putting it mildly.
Aside from dancing sporadically with all of the above-named clubs, he administered Midnight Squares, edited The Call Sheet, is on the 2017-2018 board of El Camino Reelers, and runs the IAGSDC History Project. If he actually drank the stuff, Allan would qualify as a Coffee Overachiever of square dancing.
Allan dances up through C1. Allan graduated from a C2 class with Midnight Squares in 2010, but has not danced C2 very much since then.
Allan started learning to call in 1997, at the GCA Caller School held that year in conjunction with the IAGSDC Wheel & Deal convention. He has also attended GCA Caller Schools in Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Anaheim, plus two of Ken Ritucci's Norcal Caller Schools held in Sunnyvale, California in 2009 and 2010.
Allan presently calls Basic, Mainstream, Plus, A1, A2, and C1.
He has no regular calling gigs, and performs mostly at local club nights (Midnight Squares, Temple Squares), fly-ins, dances (El Camino Reelers, Chi-Town Squares), during GCA tips at IAGSDC conventions, and at non-IAGSDC clubs (such as American Squares in Homewood, IL).
Allan's membership in several IAGSDC clubs often puzzles people.
In 1997, Allan joined Foggy City Dancers because at that time they synchronized their Mainstream and Plus classes and teaching orders with El Camino Reelers. This enabled Allan to gain additional floor time when learning both levels, so Allan joined Foggy City to support the club in return.
Later, Allan joined Midnight Squares as his dance interests gravitated towards Advanced & Challenge levels. Eventually, Allan became a Midnight Squares' Club Administrator, a duty he shared with Ed Ziegler. Allan resigned from his position during his IAGSDC Hiatus in 2011, but maintained his membership with the club.
After frequent visits to Vancouver, BC every year over (American) Thanksgiving weekend, Allan joined Squares Across The Border, maintaining a membership with them for many years.
In 2001, Allan's father died suddenly, necessitating Allan's part-time residence in Chicago to help his mother. During that period, Allan joined Chi-Town Squares, where he is still a member.
In 2008, after spending many years going to Salt Lake City for business trips, Allan assisted Ross Lopton and Justin Crawshaw in forming Temple Squares. Ross & Justin and Ross' daughter Ashley had moved to Salt Lake City, and decided to form a GLBT square dance club there. Allan & Ross called 10-minute demonstration tips at 2008 Utah Pride to attract potential students and club members. Well over 100 names were gathered, and Temple Squares started its first class in the fall of 2008.
Allan was a frequent contributor to SquareUp! Magazine starting around 1997, continuing until the publication's closure. All of the articles he originally wrote for SquareUp!, plus many more, can be found on his website at http://www.danceinfo.org
Around 1998, Allan put together a "tip sheet" for newly graduating dancers about to attend their first IAGSDC Convention. This sheet grew from one page to two pages, and then to four or five pages, and grew into what is now known as the Guide To IAGSDC Convention.
A member of the Gay Callers Association since 1997, in September 2006, Allan volunteered to become editor of the Call Sheet, which he changed from a basic 4-to-8-page newsletter into a professional journal format.
His intention was to position The Call Sheet as an authoritative source for square dance calling technical information to both the GLBT and straight calling communities. Allan enlisted Pam Clasper's assistance in distributing free copies of The Call Sheet at CALLERLAB conventions, to build awareness of the GCA and IAGSDC within the larger (straight) CALLERLAB community.
Allan also completed writing projects for several IAGSDC Conventions, including:
- 2005: Authored the 2005 Fun Badge Tour script and (with his husband Randy Hensley) co-wrote the FBT route book for Star Thru The Silicon Galaxy.
- 2013: Submitted the winning entry in the "Name Our Convention!" contest for Weave Your Heart in San Francisco, and, with Paul Asente, co-edited the IAGSDC 25 Years Video presented at that Convention. (See video link at right.)
- 2015: Wrote both a brief article and an in-depth transcription of "Circle the Wagons", a Bay Area regional conference held 1/11/2015 to discuss recruiting and retention issues.
- 2015: With Kate Yule, co-authored the first few issues of (and wrote the last few issues on his own) the newsletters for Swing Me In St. Louis. He also proofread, cleaned up, and formatted that Convention's master calling schedule and GCA calling schedules.
All of Allan's published square dancing writing can be found online at http://www.danceinfo.org/
Shortly after taking on the editorship of The Call Sheet, Allan became interested in gathering and preserving IAGSDC history, starting with an electronic reproduction of the 10 Years book. This led to the IAGSDC History Project's creation.
The treatment, which at the time involved 48 weeks of chemotherapy using alfai-interferon and ribavirin, left Allan partially incapacitated for long periods of time. During this period of time, he continued to produce the GCA Call Sheet and work on Ten Years IAGSDC Digital Edition, partially out of stubbornness and partially due to extreme boredom from long periods of home confinement. Ultimately, the 2007 treatment was unsuccessful.
Allan underwent a third-generation treatment for Hepatitis C in 2014, which was successful. He documented his Hep C treatment journey at https://hepatitis-c-log.livejournal.com/
Hiatus From IAGSDC (2011-2014)
Since the Atlanta Convention in 2011, Allan took a several-year hiatus from all IAGSDC activities. This includes resigning from administering Midnight Squares, editing the GCA Call Sheet, and nearly all dancing and calling.
The hiatus was taken in order to move his then-80-year-old mother Sally from Chicago, IL to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he placed her into an Assisted Living facility appropriate for her dementia.
Allan's experiences supporting a memory-impaired loved one are documented online at https://memorycare.dreamwidth.org/
Return to IAGSDC Activities in 2014
In early 2017, Allan joined the board of El Camino Reelers, where he was responsible for creating a new master recruiting/retention plan for the club, loosely based on [Chi-Town Squares]' "Way Forward" plan. The new plan for ECR included monthly introductory dances (called "Fun Nights") paired with periodic (at least twice yearly) partitioned blast classes. The first blast class at ECR graduated 11 students, compared to the previous year's class of just 1 graduating student.
In July and August of 2018, Allan migrated the History Wiki from its original (then 8 year old) GoDaddy hosting account to a newer cPanel-based hosting account (also at GoDaddy).