Candidates for the 2016 Austin Swing Syndicate Board

Candidates for election to the 2016 Austin Swing Syndicate Board are organized below in alphabetical order by position. Short candidate-written biographies and photos are included here for all candidates for President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and At-Large (for which there are three open spots).

Elections will take place in person on March 17th at the Fed and online voting will open on March 10th. Stay tuned for more information!


Jennifer Banister

Jennifer Banister

As a member of the 2015 Board Jennifer worked hard with the board and community members to help run the Syndicate and fulfill her campaign goals. She successfully completed all 3 of her campaign hopes: encourage more community volunteering, work with the board to resolve the financial incongruities, and create the Lindy Choir. Looking forward, besides community facilitation, Jennifer’s primary goals for 2016 are: to invite out of town bands to play at the Syndicate on occasion, encourage micro-workshops with visiting international/national level teachers and build stronger connections to encourage different creative groups around Austin. Leadership is about encouragement and community. As President, Jennifer will work to promote and champion the ideas and causes of the Board, ALX committee, volunteers and our community members. As a member of the Safe Spaces committee with people to help them feel safer. In 2016, Jennifer hopes to build a closer connection with other dance organizations to share information and tactics for safe spaces. “The Syndicate is home to a myriad of talent and as President, I will work to promote and nurture individuals and groups to take increased ownership of the Syndicate and closer connection with the community”– Jennifer Banister

Robbie Meshbane

Robbie Headshot

I’m a very enthusiastic social dancer that’s excited to improve the quality of our dance scene. Since joining the Syndicate 4 years ago, I’ve served on the Thursday night staff, coordinated the housing during our annual event (Austin Lindy Exchange), and served on the board of directors. During my tenure as Secretary last year:

  • Encouraged participation by opening up our board meetings to the public
  • Released agenda topics in advance to help members choose which meetings to attend
  • Sponsored a recent safe spaces program which displays the photos of the director on duty and shift lead so disturbances may be reported more easily
  • Streamline operations by proposing and implementing a 2nd cashier to reduce wait times at the door
  • Helped the Syndicate from being shut down for non-compliance with tax filing requirements
  • Sought out and recommended a qualified forensic accountant to reproduce missing records
  • Assisted Treasurer Dale Simpson to get the 2013 & 2014 tax returns filed
  • Supported the increase of frequency of live band nights
  • Worked on the recovery of money that went missing from early 2013 until the 2015 board took over

I’m super excited about running again for the Austin Swing Syndicate Board of Directors. If re-elected onto the 2016 board, I will continue my efforts and work to towards new goals for the Austin Swing Syndicate, which are:

  • Reduce admission prices on band nights
  • Rekindle ties with the Hot Rhythm Foundation and sponsorship of other dance events
  • Expand on our promotional efforts for local jazz bands and dance venues
  • Incorporate a second side room to increase the frequency of blues, up-tempo, west coast, and soul nights from once a month to twice a month each
  • Seek out grants to increase the quality and prominence of swing dancing in Austin


Arnica Grace

Arnica Grace

I am honored to be nominated to serve as Vice President this year, thank you! Here’s a short introduction just in case we haven’t met out on the dance floor:

Growing, preserving, and evolving Austin’s Swing dance scene is my passion. I will use my experience running a non-profit organization to make the Austin Swing Syndicate fun and friendly for everyone. Building connections to open dance opportunities, I will keep our board on the pulse of the Swing Scene here in Austin.

As your Vice-President for 2016, it will be my commitment to keep our Thursday dances running smoothly at a fair cost. Coordinating the involvement of our organization and its members will make that happen. Our volunteers and board members are some of the nicest people I could hope to work with toward that aim.

After dancing around town to live bands for years, I was hooked on the Syndicate the first time I set foot in the Fed. I haven’t been able to kick that habit of Swing dancing since, nor would I ever want to! Instead, I have nurtured it. A few examples of how I have helped and continue to help grow our Swing community are:

  • By founding a 501(c) Texas Non-Profit organization dedicated to promoting social tolerance through education and performance of the Balboa Swing dance, we have increased the love of Balboa Swing dancing in the Austin area. And there are more dancers too!
  • Serving as a Board member for the Balboa Blueprint non-profit organization since 2013.
  • Encouraging individuals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the dance community through fully paid attendance to regular classes and dedicated Swing workshops.
  • Organized and taught at bi-monthly dance workshops in Austin in 2014.
  • Instituted, in 2015, a free Swing dance lesson before the monthly Saengerrunde Swing dance, a live-music dance event.
  • Operating and teaching at a year-round Swing dance instruction program.
  • Promoting and scheduling group dance outings for social dancing to live music here in the Austin area multiple times every month.
  • Supporting the Austin Traditional Jazz Society since 2008.
  • Traveling to attend national Swing dance events and sample other Swing dance scenes since 2011, bringing back information for our Austin community to share.
  • Teaching in the side room at the Austin Swing Syndicate periodically since 2013…what fun!
  • And… while I’m more collaborative than competitive by nature, I have participated in dance competitions at a national level and won (aw, shucks.)

I make things happen. I help everyone get it done. It will be a pleasure to work for you all in the capacity of Vice President here at the Austin Swing Syndicate for 2016. I’m happy to have been nominated to run for office. And now… let’s dance!


Dale Simpson


Dale Simpson was honored to serve as your Treasurer in 2015 and he would appreciate your vote to serve as your Treasurer again in 2016 on the 501(c)(3) Austin Swing Syndicate Board of Directors. His goal is to keep the weekly dances occurring so that we can maintain a robust swing dance scene here in Austin, Texas and introduce even more people to swing dance.

As Treasurer in 2015, he worked diligently to reconstruct the financial record of 2013 and 2014 and to file the 2013 and 2014 Tax Returns to bring our organization back into compliance with non-profit rules. He is also leading the effort to put in place a rigorous financial oversight program to prevent future disruptions to our financial record.

As a professional engineer and project manager in Environmental Compliance, Dale is comfortable with numbers, budgets, and boring (but effective) government regulations.

Dale has been a member of the Austin Swing Syndicate since taking his first beginner class at a Thursday dance in 2004. He has been an active volunteer for the Thursday dances for the past 12 years.

Dale has traveled nationally to attend events such as Swing Out New Hampshire and Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown in New Orleans. When he backpacked across the world, he danced in the swing dance scenes of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Swing Camp Oz in Adelaide, Australia; and even ended up on a month-long tour of Tibet with a couple of swing-dancers from Austria.


Lizi George

Lizi George

I joined the 2014-2015 board to fill a vacant At-Large position near the end of the year and would like to continue working to enhance the Austin swing dance community experience. Since joining the board, I have served as an adviser to the election committee and have recently taken over the maintenance of our mailing lists. If elected for a full term as Secretary, I would focus on informing our membership and general public of special events through monthly newsletters and frequent updates to the website. I plan to improve the membership experience by exploring options to ease membership renewal and recognition. Socials with free food for members would also make a reappearance.

My past leadership experience includes serving as a member of the 2014 and 2015 ALX committees and as the president of my college living group. I have been a volunteer at the Fed since May 2014, usually staffing the 8pm or 9pm desk shifts.

Outside of dancing, I’m an electrical engineer and enjoy Celtic music, stand-up comedy and large sweaters.


Victor Celenia


I took up swing dancing in 2003 after having seen lindy hop for the first time in Orlando, Florida and have been dancing ever since. In Virginia Beach and Richmond, VA I was heavily involved in their scenes and in 2010, ran a monthly dance called the Southside Stomp that brought in instructors and dj’s from all over the northeast and midatlantic. At the beginning of the next year my partner and I ran a three day dance, workshop and competition event called By My Jazz Baby. Since moving to Austin I have been a DJ at the dances for the last four and a half years, become a swing bandleader for Snorky’s Rhythm Kings and the Waller Creek Vipers, and monthly dance organizer with the Waller Creek Stomp. I am extremely passionate about the joy and uplifting nature of the dance and its music. I believe that I can bring all of my organizing experiences and help the Syndicate keep moving in a positive direction towards growth, unity and support. All of our groups, organizers, and instructors have a place and an organization to call home and whose efforts will be supported. I look forward to continuing what previous boards have started and helping our scene be the best in the nation!

Robbie Meshbane

(see bio under President)

JP Navarro

JP Navarro

Served as At-Large Member 2015-2016 with a focus on finding out more about community and volunteer concerns regarding Syndicate operations, and serving as the pro tem Marketing Director in charge of Syndicate signage and advertisement.

Hoping to serve as At-Large again for 2016, with the platform of rebuilding bridges between the dance organizations that make the Austin scene, such as Hot Rhythm Holiday and Austin Lindy Exchange.

Also, yearning to explore options for community outreach and events outside of the regular Thursday night dance, including charity based fund raisers, and contributions to university or college based swing dance clubs.

Agony Orr


I really enjoy swing dancing. I am glad that the Austin Swing Syndicate has made a great community and I want to help out by being on the board. If you like to swing dance too then you should vote for me.

Nick Williams


Nick Williams is excited to be running for the Board of the Austin Swing Syndicate this year. After extensive volunteering with the Syndicate, participation in community meetings, work with the Austin Lindy Exchange, and more recent involvement in new volunteer recruitment and coordination, Nick wants to increase his part in the dance community by serving as a Board Member. Nick is a parttime student, has experience in small business operation, and works with sound tech and event management in his day job. His primary goals this term are to support increased community involvement with the Syndicate, and to continue to promote greater communication with the membership –encouraging more of their voice to be heard; the Syndicate has been doing a fantastic job in this area, and Nick will be excited to help keep up the momentum.

The Syndicate is about people; Nick wants to make it easy for all to be a part of this truly awesome organization, and aims to continue to foster the great, welcoming environment it’s been long known for. Feel free to say hi if you see him on the dance floor!

Jin Young Cha

Jin Young Cha

I am grateful to be nominated by Robbie Meshbane for the position of At-Large and for the opportunity to formalize my support of the Austin Swing Syndicate. I have attended and participated in many meetings as a general member, helped organize ALX, closed on Thursday nights, and welcomed newcomers.

My objectives are to:

  • Reinvest the profits of Austin Swing Syndicate into live music and reduce the costs to members
  • Provide more recognition and benefits to volunteers
  • Invest funds into improving air conditioning
  • Develop a welcoming outreach program