Allan Hurst (12/14/60-) is a dancer, caller, and writer who lives in Sacramento, California. He's been dancing since 1995, calling since 1997, and has attended every convention since Stars, Thars & Cable Cars in 1996. He is a member of multiple clubs.
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. This was the first same-sex ceremony held at an IAGSDC club fly-in, though there had been at least one wedding ceremony held offsite during a previous fly-in or convention 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, was on the 2017-2019 board (and the 2019-2021 board) of El Camino Reelers, was the IAGSDC Representative for the Gay Callers Association, and runs the IAGSDC History Project. Allan qualifies as a Coffee Overachiever of square dancing.
In mid-April, 2022, Allan and his husband Randy moved to Sacramento, California, where Allan joined Prime 8's and Capital City Squares, and called on an irregular basis for several local clubs until being named Capital City Squares' new club caller, effective August 1, 2023.
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, an invitational caller school held by Anne Uebelacker at her home in Burnaby, BC, 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 enjoys both teaching and calling, with an emphasis on making dancers more comfortable with APD and DBD choreography. Allan's calling style was influenced by Andy Shore, Mike DeSisto, Anne Uebelacker, Sandie Bryant, Harlan Kerr, and Scot Byars.
Until 2021, he had no regular calling gigs, and performed mostly at local club nights in the Bay Area, including occasional dates for El Camino Reelers, Foggy City Dancers, Western Star, and Midnight 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, and Bachelors'n'Bachelorettes in McHenry, IL).
In 2022, after moving to Sacramento, Allan began filling in on a semi-regular basis for a number of local clubs, including Prime 8s (Sacramento), Capital City Squares (Sacramento), Pear Steppers (Roseville), and Main Street Strollers (Placerville). Allan has also filled in for local Sacramento caller Scott Pearce during vacation at Scott's clubs Whirl-A-Ways (Roseville) and Sierra Squares (Shingle Springs).
In 2018, Allan moved from ex-officio to official GCA board member status when he was elected to the position of IAGSDC Representative for the GCA. Allan later moved back to an ex-officio board member when the GCA adopted a new set of bylaws.
In 2019, Allan joined the CALLERLAB Marketing Committee.
On March 1, 2023, Capital City Squares announced that Allan had been contracted as the club's full-time caller, effective August 1st, 2023, succeeding Tom Kaiser, who retired to Michigan. Allan is an occasional caller for Prime 8s and several other Sacramento area clubs (Pear Steppers, Main Street Strollers, Sierra Squares, Whirl-A-Ways).
Allan maintains a professional calling website at https://allanhurst.com
Allan's membership in many 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.
GCA Call Sheet Editor and GCA Board
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 LGBTQ+ 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 has edited and published 41 of the 42 Call Sheets from September 2006 to November 2022. (Harlan Kerr put out the June 2011 issue.)
In 2018, after many years of being an ex officio board member, Allan ran for and was elected to the GCA Board as the organization's IAGSDC Delegate.
Allan recalls joining CALLERLAB in 1997. He has attended the following CALLERLAB conventions
- 2004 (Reno, NV)
- 2011 (Las Vegas, NV)
- 2014 (Reno, NV)
- 2017 (Mesa, AZ)
- 2018 (Albuquerque, NM)
- 2019 (Richmond, VA)
It was in 2017 that Allan was “voluntold” to present on the topic of "E-Communications", which proved to be popular enough that he was asked to repeat the session in 2018 and 2019.
In 2019, Allan joined the CALLERLAB Marketing Committee.
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.
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.
- 2020-2022: Authored the newsletters and created/maintained the websites for the 2021 and 2022 IAGSDC conventions Houston, We Have A Promenade and Twin City Spin.
Except for the GCA Call Sheet (available on the GCA website only to members), 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 pegylated alfa-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. However, 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/
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). This migration involved upgrading the wiki's MediaWiki software itself, which had evolved to require a set of newer software environments such as PHP and MySQL than the original version of MediaWiki used for the History Wiki. The migration, as Allan described it, was "long, involved, messy, and hideously painful in nearly every aspect." (Pam Clasper and Debbie Ceder only remember Allan swearing a lot.)
In August 0f 2021, Allan migrated the History Wiki again, this time from GoDaddy to MyWikis.com. The migration to MyWikis was substantially easier than the previous GoDaddy migration, and the new hosting platform included a more current version of MediaWiki which has a number of notable enhancements.
Hiatus From IAGSDC (2011-2014)
Immediately following the Atlanta Convention in 2011, Allan took a hiatus from all IAGSDC activities. The hiatus was taken in order to care for and move his then-80-year-old mother Sally from Chicago, IL to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he placed her into a series of Assisted Living facilities appropriate for her rapidly progressing dementia.
Allan's experiences supporting a memory-impaired loved one are documented online at https://memorycare.dreamwidth.org/
Return to IAGSDC Activities in 2014
El Camino Reelers Board (2017-2021)
In early 2017, Allan joined the board of El Camino Reelers, his original IAGSDC club, for a two-year board membership (2017 and 2018).
His principal task was to create 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.
Allan subsequently ran again for a 2019-2020 board membership term, and a 2021-2022 term.
Because of his pending move to Sacramento with Randy, Allan declined to run again for the ECR board in 2022.
The "Shadow Committee" and the 2021 and 2022 IAGSDC Conventions
In 2013, Allan joined a committee organized by Rick Hawes to create a bid for the 2017 IAGSDC Convention, selecting Minneapolis, MN as the host city. The group called itself "The Shadow Committee", as it was a group formed of members of at least three different clubs (not counting Allan's multiple club memberships), and was intended to supply the IAGSDC with a bid in the event that no club made a convention bid. The Shadow Committee's 2017 bid lost out to [[Palm Springs].
The Shadow Committee subsequently designated itself as being run by Heads To The Center, originally Portland's Advanced/Challenge club, and now a "virtual" square dance club made up of members from many cities. The committee submitted convention bids to the IAGSDC for 2021 (Houston, TX) and 2022 Minneapolis, MN, both of which were accepted.
Allan served on the committees of both the Houston and Minneapolis conventions as chair of communications and volunteers.
Golden Boot Award 2019
On July 5, 2019, Barry Clasper and Pam Clasper passed on the Golden Boot Award to Allan, along with a beautiful 20-stitches-per-inch cross-stitch piece illustrating his accomplishments with the IAGSDC, GCA, Call Sheet, IAGSDC History Project, and CALLERLAB.