Meet your Nominees for the 2015 Syndicate Board Elections!

Hey everyone! It’s that time of year again, Elections!

Please note that the Austin Swing Syndicate board would like you to vote for the most qualified candidates, not just your friends. Please think who will best serve the community and help the Austin Swing Syndicate grow and continue to move in the right direction. Please keep those things in mind when voting.

Here are your nominees!

Vice President – Please vote for ONLY ONE PERSON. Only One Person May Win.

Mike Roberts - 2015 Vice President Candidate

Mike Roberts

Over the last 15 years I have helped grow swing dancing in Texas starting with the San Antonio Swing Dance Society in ~2001, and soon after, the Trinity University SwingBums. I have been and continue to be an organizer, DJ, MC, teacher (both locally and internationally), co-owner of The Lindy Project, and general promoter of all things Swing dance and Jazz in Austin.

I served on the Syndicate Board in 2007, and currently hold the position of Live Music Coordinator. As part of the 2015 Board, my primary goal is to continue the unprecedented growth we’ve seen in Austin’s swing dancing scene as of late. To that end I would like to strengthen the trend of bringing together Austin’s Jazz musicians and its dancers through new live music opportunities, education and cross promotion.

Since starting in 2000, I have:

  • Run the Trinity University Swing Bums
  • Helped found, teach for, and run the San Antonio Swing Dance Society
  • DJ’d for the Syndicate 10+ yrs
  • Served on the Syndicate Board
  • Helped create the Emcee position & Emcee regularly
  • Coordinated Syndicate Live Music
  • Founded and run The Lindy Project
  • Helped bring Austin Jazz Musicians and Dancers closer.
  • Taught & Competed Lindy Hop Internationally

Within the national Swing/Lindy Hop dance scene there has a lot of discussion on creating safe spaces at dance events, weekly and otherwise. I hope to help the Syndicate in its creation of a safe spaces policy for the entire Austin dance community.

I love dancing, I love jazz music, and I love our community. I am committed to seeing it grow and flourish, and look forward to the opportunities the Syndicate Board will provide to make that happen.

Brian Lasseter - 2015 Vice President Candidate

Brian “Lasso” Lasseter

Brian “Lasso” Lasseter started dancing in 1999 with the founding of the Georgia Tech Dance Association, and then moved to Austin in 2001. Over the last 16 years of dancing he has developed a deep love of the swing dance scene here in Texas. Brian “Lasso” Lasseter has served the members of the Austin Swing Syndicate in the following ways over the years:

  • 4 years of experience as a “Member-At-Large” for the Austin Swing Syndicate
  • 1 year of experience as “President” of the Austin Swing Syndicate
  • Founded the first weekly Blues dancing events in Austin in 2007
  • 8 years volunteering to open and close the Syndicate dances

Brian “Lasso” Lasseter would love the opportunity to serve the swing dance community again, to promote the continued existence and growth of swing dancing, in all of its forms, in the Austin area. Feel free to ask him for a dance tonight; he never dips a follow just once.

Treasurer – Please vote for ONLY ONE PERSON. Only One Person May Win.

Eric Lim - 2015 Treasurer Candidate

Eric Lim

As the current Treasurer for the Austin Swing Syndicate board, Eric is interested in serving another term so that he can continue to support the Austin Swing Syndicate community.

Eric started dancing in Houston in 2004 to try to find something in common with his then-girlfriend. Little did he know that he would still be dancing and loving it 10 years later, and to his surprise, what once started as a quirky hobby has blossomed into a quasi-obsession. Eric has been a part of the Austin swing dance for several years, and has contributed to the dance scene in several ways:

  • The Current Treasurer on the Austin Swing Syndicate board
  • A teacher at a local swing dance studio (The Lindy Project)
  • Served on the Austin Swing Syndicate board in the 2011-2012
  • DJ’ed for the Austin Swing Syndicate for several years
  • Helped open and close the Fed for a couple of years as a volunteer staff
  • Helped organize Austin Lindy Exchange 2013 (housing committee)

By day, Eric is a lawyer, and he believes his legal experience would help him serve the Austin Swing Syndicate community. Eric would be honored to serve as treasurer for the upcoming term.

Dale Simpson - 2015 Treasurer Candidate

Dale Simpson

Dale Simpson 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 theThursday dances for the past 10 years and he served as Syndicate Board Secretary in 2014.

Dale would appreciate the opportunity to serve you as Syndicate Board Treasurer in 2015:

  • As a project manager, he has substantial experience tracking budgets and evaluating project proposals.
  • As a professional engineer working in Environmental Regulatory Compliance, he has the experience to interpret Non-Profit rules and ensure that the Austin Swing Syndicate remains in compliance.

Dale loves playing jazz. He has been playing boogie-woogie piano as a hobby for 7 years. He can also play a few blues riffs on the guitar.

Dale loves dancing to jazz. He has been swing dancing at the Syndicate and Austin Clubs for 10 years. He has traveled extensively 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.

Secretary – Please vote for ONLY ONE PERSON. Only One Person May Win.

Jillian Benavidez - 2015 Secretary Candidate.jpg

Jillian Benavidez

Jillian Benavidez learned to swing dance many years ago, but didn’t know about the Austin Swing Syndicate until 2013. She has since been addicted and has a strong desire to see the Austin Swing Syndicate continue in a positive way and grew in influence in both Austin and the international swing dance community. She joined the volunteer staff shortly after her first dance and has continued to contribute to the local scene.

  • Served as an At Large Board Member for the previous year (2014)
  • Current Staff Coordinator for the volunteer staff
  • Served as a volunteer for the Austin Lindy Exchange
  • Served as a volunteer for Hot Rhythm Holiday

Lian Tarhay - 2015 Secretary Candidate

Lian Tarhay

Hello fellow dancers! If you don’t know me yet, my name is Lian Tarhay. As a recent import I moved to the sunny city of Austin late last Fall from Madison, Wisconsin. Up north I was heavily involved in the Madison swing club ‘Jumptown’ – organizing classes, DJ’s, events, and basically making things happen so everyone could have a fun time dancing. Currently I travel almost monthly to Lindy Hop and Balboa events across the US, DJ at some of them, and dance as much as possible. After enjoying a few months of social dancing in Austin, and recently joining the teaching staff of TLP, I’m ready to help out again with the organizing side of things. Qualifications: I’ve been on a few executive boards before, even in the role of Secretary for my college co-ed service fraternity. I’ve also been involved with volunteering in swing club organizations, and putting on swing dances since approximately 1999. Nope, I don’t remember exactly how long it’s been, but it has been fun. The best reward from organizing is when dancers afterward tell me what a wonderful evening/weekend of dancing they had, and how they want to dance even more! I hope to use my past experience to assist in tweaking and fine-tuning one of the biggest and best weekly dances in the US.

Robbie Meshbane - 2015 Secretary Candidate

Robbie Meshbane

Robbie stands for keeping low prices to the Thursday dances and Austin Lindy Exchange. He wants to bring back the 2nd side room for bands playing for tips, or for extra DJ’d West Coast, Blues, or Groove nights. For a while this potential additional dance space has been idle. He’s pushing for the Syndicate to expand its mission and promote swing dancing all over Austin, not just Thursdays at the Fed.

For 3 year’s he’s been a regular member of the staff that sets up the Thursday night dance and he also volunteered to organize the Austin Lindy Exchange (Outreach and Housing). This year he’s making a run for secretary, and even if not elected he’ll work hard to make dancing in Austin more Awsome! He’s got a strong pulse on the local swing scene, nearly always making the Fed dance, and goes out dancing other places several times a week, sometimes every night of the week. Nobody’s too good or too bad for him to dance with either, he likes to swing out with old friends as well as new people, and brings lots of them out with him around town. For several years he’s also been organizing free swing dancing practice groups and outings with the opportunity for informal social dancing and practice, check out the new one at for more info. It’s on Caffe Medici on the drag, everyone’s welcome.

At Large Board Members – Please vote for Three people out of the list. Only Three People May Win.

Billy Marcus - 2015 At Large Candidate

Billy Marcus

Being a passionate member of the Austin swing dance community for well over 10 years Billy is ready to share his lasting excitement for the dance as a board member. He continuously spreads the love for the dance everywhere he goes – be it a local dance event, standing in line for groceries or sitting next to a stranger on an airplane. Billy is a connector, inside and outside the Austin Swing community, with a can do spirit who wants to invest more energy in building ties with local businesses and community leaders. When he is not getting people involved in some dance related projects, he is most likely dancing.

Daniel Orr - At 2015 Large Candidate

Daniel “Agony” Orr

I am glad that I now have another chance to run for the board. I want to see the Austin swing community continue to become better over the next year and think that I could help by being on the board.

Jennifer Bannister - 2015 At Large Candidate

Jennifer Banister

A devastatingly enthusiastic soul, once dance entered her life, Jennifer threw herself into building and growing the community. Starting off as the President of the Aberdeen Swing Society, she was an active member of the European Lindy and Blues scenes. She has volunteered and worked at over thirty events in the past 4 years, in a variety of roles-most recently as the event manager at Herräng Dance camp. This European transplant brings a breadth of experience working with a variety of different scenes. She is looking forward to opportunity to learn more about Austin Swing scenes and the unique opportunities and challenges that Austin offers. As a board member she would put emphasis on community consensus building and serving the needs of the local community. Currently she is thinking about setting up a Lindy Choir, improving opportunities for volunteering for dancers and bringing ideas from the community of dancers to fruition. ​

John Paul Navarro - 2015 At Large Candidate

John Paul Navarro

Emigrating to Omagh, Northern Ireland with his family from Manila, Philippines before he was too young to remember, John Paul was given a chance he couldn’t resist to move to Texas for college in 2011 at the age of sixteen. In the summer of 2014, he graduated with an Associates of Arts in Anthropology from Austin Community College prior to transferring to Southwestern University. There, he studies with a focus in Advertising within the discipline of Communication, engaging in courses and opportunities for internships that the Austin area has to offer. He also studies in voice performance and art and graphic design to pursue creative interests.

Living in Austin, he is active in the swing dance scene by volunteering for the Austin Swing Syndicate from his first night there, and working for swing events such as the Austin Lindy Exchange and The Hot Rhythm Holiday, as well as being on staff for Four on the Floor. In December of 2014, he also started a college swing scene in Southwestern University known as “The Savoy at Southwestern,” in hopes of bringing the joys and spirit of the original Savoy ballroom by uniting the student body and various on-campus groups under the premise of social dance and jazz music. The only thing that matters in the Savoy is that one would be eager to dance and have fun.

In running for the ‘At Large’ position, John Paul aims to bring fresh and young ideas to the Austin Swing Syndicate and gain valuable knowledge in non-profit organization management. He hopes to create advertisement campaigns within the community to promote volunteer participation that forms the back-bone of the Syndicate’s weekly dances, and extending the outreach of the local Austin swing dance community to the Georgetown area.

Sam Chang - 2015 At Large Candidate

Sam Chang

Sam discovered his love for dancing at the Swing Syndicate’s weekly Fed dance back in 2010 but managed to hide behind a camera while slowly cultivating a proper swingout. After dancing at the Fed and attending exchanges (ALX and Lindyfest) for a couple of years, Sam is looking to give back to the community by serving on the Swing Syndicate board as an At-Large member representing beginning and social dancers.

Outside of swing dancing, Sam is the chapter co-president for his local alumni association, avid blues dance photographer/volunteer/traveler, and high-tech engineer. With his experience and skillset, Sam will continue to help grow the Syndicate and make it accessible/fun for everyone!