Blog posts

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Anniversary Dance 6/28: Brooks Prumo Orchestra


We’ll be welcoming the Brooks Prumo Orchestra (a 14 piece big band!!) back to the Fed for our 19th Anniversary Dance! Member of the Austin Swing Syndicate get in for free – stay tuned for more details!


Members: FREE

Non-members: $10

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Sock Hop 5/31 (Georgian Room)


We’re having a Sock Hop the last Thursday of May. Grab your poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and leather jackets! You’ve spent May learning the Madison. Now is your time to twist it out!

Join us in the Georgian Room for some fantastic 50s music and classic 1950s soda fountain deliciousness.

There will be a costume contest at 10:45 in the Georgian room.

Staff Spotlight #2: Janet Benaski

This month we interviewed Austin Swing Syndicate super-volunteer Janet Benaski. If you’ve taken our beginner swing lesson or come to one of our shoe sueding workshops, you’ll recognize Janet. We’re so grateful for her energy and dedication!

What do you do on the Austin Swing Syndicate staff?

JB: I’m a dance ambassador along with my boyfriend Carlos. You can spot us on the dance floor wearing bright Hawaiian Leis. Jennifer Reed started the program to help new dancers enjoy their time at the Fed and come back for more! We encourage new people to dance with us (and ask others to dance) while reinforcing good dance etiquette and providing a safe space environment.

I also teach the Suede Your Soles workshops with Heather Nelson. Did you know that just about any shoe can be turned into a dance shoe just by gluing suede on the soles? In the workshops you provide the shoes, we provide materials and know how for just $5. Check the calendar for upcoming events or contact me through Facebook.

Finally, I love helping Caitlin McTaggart in the kitchen when she’s baking up a storm for our annual events.

When and why did you start dancing?

JB: I started dancing back in 1996 when the swing dance scene was just starting to heat up. A friend of mine was the lead singer in the band 8 1/2 souvenirs.  I learned to dance at her shows and with Matt Jones at The Split Rail ( Soon after I started teaching in clubs around Austin.

Why are you still dancing?

JB: Swing dancing is in my blood and I’m fortunate to have an awesome dance partner/boyfriend.

What’s your favorite quote or saying?

JB: Just one good dance can make your whole night!

What is your most useless talent?

JB: Rearranging furniture.

What do you do outside of the swing dance world?

JB: I have a sewing studio and love making my swing dresses.

What are your favorite movies, books, or shows?

JB: Movie – Amélie, book – The Brain That Changes Itself, TV – Stand up comedy shows.

What is your favorite type of swing dance?

JB: Jitterbug and Lindy hop.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

JB: Flying of course!

What are your most loved pair of dance shoes and why?

JB: A pair of men’s Stacy Adams black and white wingtips that I wore back in the 90s. Unfortunately they fell apart overtime and they no longer make my size.

What’s your favorite room in the Fed?

JB: Gosh it’s hard to pick between the ballroom, the main living room and the ladies lounge.


Live Music 4/19: Swing Band Jam Session

This month we continue our series of live music in the Art Gallery. You may not have known that we have opportunities for local amateur musicians looking to play for dancers at the Fed! Once a month Austin dance instructor and musician Johnny Serrano organizes a jam session open to all, with several core musicians leading the group.

Please read our guidelines before joining in.

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Live Music 4/12: Spring Swing w/Jonathan Doyle Swingtet

We’re excited to welcome back the Jonathan Doyle Swingtet to the Fed for this year’s Spring Swing dance!

Jonathan Doyle spent time in Austin playing with well-established acts such as Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, and the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, as well being a part of many fine local bands such as Thrift Set Orchestra, Albanie & her Fellas, Stan Smith and the Jazz Pharaohs, Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies, East Side Dandies, White Ghost Shivers, Whit Smith’s Hot Jazz Caravan, The Giant Three and his own projects The Jonathan Doyle Quintet / Swingtet. He has lived in Chicago, Austin, and New Orleans and now resides in the Pacific Northwest. We’re lucky to have him back at the Fed!

Event admission:

$10 non-members

$7 members

Staff Spotlight #1: Lian Tarhay

We’re starting a series of monthly interviews of the hard-working staff of the Austin Swing Syndicate. Our first staff interview was with DJ and teacher (swing, lindy, balboa) Lian Tarhay.

What do you do on the Austin Swing Syndicate staff?

LT: Currently I DJ the main ballroom & uptempo room and teach swing lessons before the dance.

When and why did you start dancing?

LT: I started swing dancing my freshman year of college maybe a week or two into the first semester friends dragged me along to a ‘swing night’ at a local bar. We got X’s on our hands since we couldn’t drink adult beverages yet. I was awful, but it was so much fun! (part of the reason I was awful was because I was use to ballet/tap/jazz where I decided what move to do….following was really difficult when I just wanted to decide on the move before the leader did).

Why are you still dancing?

LT: Danced casually for years, then got really hooked after I went to a Lindy Exchange.

What’s your favorite swing song?

LT: We’ll go with my favorite song is still Bei Mir Bist du Schoen from the Swing Kids soundtrack even though I’ve heard it so many times since that first night out dancing.

What is your most useless talent?

LT: The ability to make elaborate plans in my head, then forget about them.

What do you do outside of the swing dance world?

LT: I hang out with my dog, enjoy learning about astronomy, and work as a Process Engineer.

What are your favorite movies, books, or shows?

LT: Awesome book – Blue Moon Rising by Simon R Green. Amazing recent movie – Arrival.

What’s your favorite room in the Fed?

LT: The patio area between the ballroom and kitchen is lovely in the evening.

What’s your favorite part about DJing and teaching at the Austin Swing Syndicate?

LT: Watching everybody have an amazing time dancing – whether I got to teach them a few moves, or keep them dancing with fun tunes.


Candidates for the Board of Directors 2018

The Austin Swing Syndicate Board of Directors elections start this week with online voting! Last week we had a great Town Hall where the candidates fielded questions from our members, and biographies were posted in the hallway before the main ballroom. Please click below for our candidates’ biographies and read on for more information about the election cycle.

Biographies 2018

Election Cycle Schedule

Feb. 5th – Nominations open
Feb. 19th – Nominations close
Feb. 22nd – Election Town Hall (Biographies posted this week)
Mar. 1st – Online voting begins
Mar. 8th – In-person voting, polls close at Midnight
Mar. 9th – Election results (including exact vote counts) sent to members by email
Mar. 22nd – New Board first meeting

Elections for the four open Board of Directors spots will be held in March. Joining the board is a great way to give back to a community you love, help us decide what our next priorities should be, and get in on the inner workings of the organization. Plus you’ll get to hang with fun people, it looks great on a resume, and you get in free to our dances/events.

Being on the board is a two-year commitment. Officers (President, VP, etc.) are elected internally among directors once elected. The elections are run by the Elections Committee, a neutral group nominated by the current Board.


New Year, New Prices

We hope you love dancing at the Fed as much as we do, and we’re grateful to the Austin swing dance community for supporting our weekly dance and events! Our rent is going up for the first time since early 2013 (the last time we raised our prices), so our door prices and membership rates will go up starting on January 1st, 2018. Special live music event prices will stay the same. Our next Town Hall Meeting will be January 18th at 8pm where we will provide a full financial report, and we’d love to see you there.

New prices
Regular dance: $5 members / $8 non-members
Membership rates: $30 students / $40 regular

The Austin Swing Syndicate is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and is entirely volunteer-run. Thanks again for dancing with us and supporting our mission of spreading the joy of swing dancing to as many Austinites as we can! Hope to see you out on the dance floor.


New Additions to an Austin Tradition


  • Wood flooring in the Art Gallery!
  • A 3rd AC unit in the main ballroom!
  • A monthly series of classes in the Art Gallery, including lindy hop basics, Charleston and solo jazz! First class on October 5th at 8pm.