DanceFlurry Organization Board members are residents of Albany, Columbia, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Washington Counties. Among them, they represent participants of all the types of dances sponsored by the DFO. Several are also musicians.
We invite you to help further the goals and objectives of the DFO by volunteering with a committee. For information on committees and current projects, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Shira Love (she/her) I began contra dancing in Philadelphia when I was 15, and my children, after spending their early years at the fabulous Delmar Family Dance, now love contra as well. Following an 12-year hiatus I have returned to learning the fiddle, and look forward to playing with the Megaband when it resumes.
I have worked as a mental health counselor, tutor, and volunteer for several community organizations including my children’s school, for which I ran the Fall Festival and other family events. Upon joining the DFO board I served as liaison for Family and Community dances, and recently led an effort to update the DFO’s approach to publicity and marketing. During my first year as president I focused on reengaging the board’s committees, clarifying governance and operational policies, and tackling the ever-pressing question of when we can all get back to dancing again!
First Vice President, Will Anderson I’m involved with the Swing and Blues dances with the region and have taught at those events. I have danced all the core dance styles sponsored by the DanceFlurry.
I now work in the Pharmaceutical Industry, having previously worked in the hobby game industry, and have been active in scouting and social organizations. I believe new members are the lifeblood of any organization and that dance provides a fun and structured social activity that has an incredibly positive impact on all people of all ages. It’s critical for the longevity of dance that dance events are approachable and welcoming to newcomers. DanceFlurry does a tremendous job! More events that are visible to nondancers and easy for newcomers to participate in with minimal commitment (past activities at farmer’s markets and state park come to mind) help expand our program. As I like to travel and dance, I can draw upon what I’ve seen other regions and countries do in our brainstorming sessions.
Treasurer, Noel Kropf (he/him) My family and I are avid dancers, singers, and musicians. The Flurry Festival is just about nirvana for us. I co-organize and produce the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival of Balkan music & dance. Outside of the pandemic, I volunteer doing sound and booking bands & callers for the Poughkeepsie Contra Dance (HVCD). A dancer first, I also play fiddle and gadulka, and love to sing. Previously I worked as a software developer and CTO at Datacap Inc. and IBM, and volunteered as treasurer of Lake Celeste Association, Inc.
Secretary, Marie Bruschi Currently I am the co-organizer and co-workshop leader for DFO Cajun/Zydeco series and co-instructor of Cajun, Zydeco & Irish Sets at past Flurry Festivals. I served on the Eighth Step board for several years in the 70’s including one year as Chair (the year of the fire, when we worked with First Pres Church to rebuild and improve that original basement space). I also was involved with running Eighth Step Contra Dances. More recently, I have led the Albany Irish Set Dance Group/class for the past 20 years, and I was inducted into the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Hall of Fame last year for promoting and keeping Irish Set Dance alive in this region.
I try to understand how & why people learn to dance, develop confidence and get hooked. Of course, I wish to promote and build the Cajun/Zydeco dances, but I am also dedicated to preserving traditional dances to live music with experienced instructors.
Barbara Bemis (she/her) I dance regularly at the Albany Contra, Clifton Park Contra, and Buhrmaster Barn Dances. I frequently attend the Adirondack Dance Weekend and the Flurry Festival. I am very active with a Scottish Dance group that performs at the Festival every year.
I love sharing my love for dance with others and reaching out to more people. I am thankful for all the work people have already put into DFO so that all the activities that I now participate in were available and welcoming when I showed up to learn. If I can help continue these activities and provide more opportunities for the future, I will be paying that forward to the dancers of the future.
Ken Fisher Most of my involvement with DFO had been participating in various dances and attending the Flurry Festival. For three years I have been a member of the DFO Board and was reelected to another three-year term in 2020. My dance experience is first, contra, learned while living in Cincinnati. Second, I learned swing dance here in Albany. I participate in the contra and swing dances but try a variety of other dancing at the Flurry Festival and hope to expand my skills.
I am a recently retired mechanical engineer, formerly working at GE Global Research. I am interested in promoting the DFO dance events. While I may fit some of the stereotypes of an engineer (my inclination is more to do than to talk, and to listen and think then talk) I have been working on specific projects and tasks. I serve as the liaison to the First Friday Swing Dance.
Rinde Glick (they/them) My first year attending the Flurry Festival was 2014, and I have gone every year since then. I was a lindy hopper before that, but have since transitioned to be primarily a blues and contra dancer. I attend ALBS annually, go to the occasional First Friday Swing Dances (and have performed there twice), and faithfully attend the Albany Contra Dances.
I have a full-time job as a Field Service Engineer working on x-ray equipment because I can’t sit still long enough for a desk job. I am passionate about finding ways to make our dances more inclusive and welcoming to marginalized groups, especially people of color and trans and gender non-conforming folks.
Cindee Herrick My DanceFlurry Organization involvement has included attending the Albany Contra Dance and volunteering at the Flurry Festival.
I am a professional in the museum field, and have served on various boards over the years, most often at church and for historical societies. I am interested in helping with outreach and programs.
Lauren Keeley (she/her) I am a a swing dancer who been involved with teaching and performing. My husband, Walter Keeley, and I enjoy promoting and teaching the lindy hop, blues and popular swing choreographies around the Capital District.
I am a social worker and a serious frisbee player. I worked to get our DF YO! initiative underway (DanceFlurry Youth Outreach) and serve as the committee chair. This program provides grants to organizations to bring traditional music and dance to families, youth (through college-age) and disabled adults. The program also provides scholarships to the Flurry Festival. My DFO work involves serving as a Liaison to the ALBS group (Albany Lindy, Blues and Swimming) Exchange) to support their event planning. I have also been busy working with DFO event organizers and helping to maintain the website for a few years.
Jordan Knicely (he/him) I first attended the Flurry in 2016 and began volunteering in 2019. My primary community is blues and swing, but I love the variety that the DFO offers—from the pub sing to contra and the fiddle classes.
Kevin Musick (he/him) I am an avid contra dancer and regularly attend the Albany Contra series, and I have attended the Flurry festival for at least the last five years. I am joining the DFO Board for the first time in 2020 after gaining leadership experience serving in student governance while in graduate school. I am excited to be able to contribute to this organization and to the great dance community that it serves.
Rich Pisarri My first dance experience, Zydeco, was at a DanceFlurry sponsored event. Since then I’ve enjoyed Swing, Contra, Tango, and Cajun. I love the DanceFlurry organization for the wide variety of dancing and live music it sponsors.
Professionally, I was an auditor for 32 years. I began volunteering as a member of the Flurry Festival cash crew and served the organization as Treasurer for over 10 years. As Chair of the Finance Committee, I collaborate with the board and DFO event organizers to maintain and strengthen the DFO’s fiscal soundness. I am also the liaison for the Cajun/Zydeco dance series.
Juliana Post-Good (she/her) I have always liked the idea of dancing but felt self conscious about actually trying it. However, when I was searching for a live music event as a new experience for my child, I discovered the Family Dance. Our whole family enjoyed it, and I consider it the gateway into trying other forms of dance, including contra, International Folk Dance, Western Square dancing, and English Country dancing. Each year at our Flurry Festival, I try to seek out a new (to me) kind of dance. I know in my bones there is a type of dance for everyone, and I try my best to encourage all newcomers.
In addition to serving as a board member, I will be stepping in to volunteer as the organizer of the Clifton Park Contra dance when we are able to host that event.
Harvey Raufman I am a member of the Flurry Planning Committee. I served in the very early years, creating and then expanding the volunteer structure. I took a hiatus of several years, and once again am serving as the volunteer coordinator. I also manage the lost & found crew. I have attended every Flurry festival, save one. I run sound for the Capital English dance series.
I have been dancing since 1974 and a regular dancer, in the Capital District, since 1987, dancing at all of the contra dance series, the swing dances, with the (now defunct) Scandinavian dance group, and all of the English dance groups. I served on the early DFO board when the organization was known as the Hudson Mohawk Country Dancers. I founded and ran the [first] Cajun and Zydeco dance series. I have an interest in developing youth involvement in traditional music and dance.
Jessica Schatzel (She/Her/Hers) I was very active in Ballet/Tap/Jazz/Irish dance growing up, until I discovered Contra when I moved to the area for college. I have enjoyed attending Contra/English Country/Scottish dance events over the years since, and look forward to assisting the DFO in support of traditional music and dance from diverse cultures. I look forward to helping new generations discover, connect, and inspire through music and dance! Professionally, I work in healthcare administration and have served on various other boards over the years, relating to both preserving the arts, and enhancing the health/wellbeing of our community.
Amanda Stickney I grew up learning clarinet and going to the school dances but finally got into the much-wanted local dance scene in 2010. Since then, I’ve been a committed swing, blues, contra and Latin dancer, and learned new types of dancing while attending several Flurry festivals. I work in the museum field and have been involved with many public disability forums. I am looking forward to seeing what might be possible with the DFO and bringing the idea of dancing to everyone who wants it.
Peter Stix I currently manage the Albany Contradances! series on behalf of the DFO (and I have run this series for many, many years, starting approximately 1997, well before it became a DFO sponsored series). I was, for ten years, a co-organizer of the Adirondack Dance Weekend. I have also been responsible for the management and operation of the nascent Albany Contra Fest which began in 2014.
I am also active as an occasional caller for DFO dances, including the Albany Contradances!, Buhrmaster Barn, and the Saratoga/Burnt Hills contra dances, primarily. For many years I have been hired as a performer at the Flurry Festival. Outside of the DFO, I have been assisting with the management and operation of the Woodstock Contra Dance series since the summer of 2014.
I am an Assistant Professor of Math and Engineering Science. One of my main interests is in promoting dance (especially contra dance) to a younger demographic.
Sandy Waxgiser I attend all contra and English Country dances in this region and am on the board of Capital English Country Dancers. I’m active in a number of local and regional community organizations and on the board of WAMC. For the last few years I have led the Nominations Committee for the DanceFlurry board and have worked with other English Country Dancers on a variety of outreach efforts to attract new dancers. In addition to promoting English dances, I’d love to promote line dancing which I have been doing for about 15 years.
Paul Rosenberg, Founder, DanceFlurry Organization From the late 1980’s to early 2000’s, I organized a few contra dance series. In 1988, I founded and organized the Flurry Festival (until 2005); I have been organizing a monthly family dance since 1994, and organize two community dance series which began in 2010. I also founded and served on the Board of Directors of the DanceFlurry Organization.
I have been leading dances throughout the northeastern United States since 1986. In recent years, I have shifted from being a contra caller to a family and community dance caller.
I love teaching traditional dances to children (as a visiting arts educator) in elementary schools and leading novices in community dances at festivals, community celebrations,
weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, family dances, Girl Scout dances, and other gatherings. I play recorder and sort of play fiddle.
Patti Melita, Founder, DanceFlurry Organization I grew up in a family of church choir and barbershop harmony singers. Although I studied classical piano and voice for several years, my real love proved to be traditional jazz. After singing in jazz and dance bands for a while, I took a hiatus from performing. Paul Rosenberg helped me rediscover my talent by clandestinely putting me on Flurry Festival program in 1990, singing with a swing band. I found myself right at home at the microphone. Since then I’ve been singing at festivals, swing dances and jazz clubs throughout upstate New York and New England. I was a long-time co-director of the Flurry Festival and, with Teresa Broadwell, coordinated the Dance Flurry Organization’s monthly swing dance events for 16 years. I am also an official dance consultant for the annual Falcon Ridge Festival in Hillsdale, N.Y. In 1996, with producer and arranger Peter Ecklund, world-renown coronet player, I recorded “Swing It!” a collection of vintage tunes arranged for the most discriminating dancers and listeners.
At swing dances around the northeast I have been the leader of Patti-O and the Hip Hooligans (5 instruments and my vocals) and have been seen performing in various venues with Peg Delaney on keyboard and Linda Brown on bass, a group known as The Gals Who Play Jazz, sometimes joined by a sax and drums. I also do club dates with various accompanists. During 2019 I have made a new, soon-to-be-released recording with Peg Delaney as producer and arranger.
For several years I have been on the board of the Swingtime Jazz Society, an organization that presents concerts each year featuring local jazz musicians. I have also been on the board of A Place For Jazz, an organization that presents concerts each Fall, featuring internationally known jazz artists, and for several years have been on the board of the Albany Musicians’ Union, Local 14 AFM, and was the President of the New York State Conference of Musicians for several years (a subsidiary of AFM). I am still a member of both the Albany and Schenectady Union Locals.
Jen Brown, Past President I like Lindy hop, Blues, East Coast Swing, Contra, and Salsa dancing. I joined the board in 2005 and served as president from 2010-2013. Other roles included 2 years as Treasurer, a finance committee member, and a seat on a variety of other committees. I also volunteered for the monthly swing dance and still volunteer with the annual Flurry Festival. Working with the DFO has always been rewarding, helping to bring great music and dance to the region with dedicated volunteers and talented musicians and teachers.
Bill Matthiesen, Past President Dance and music have been such life-changers for me! So I’ve worked on the board for many years to help keep our wonderful event going. We have a really nice group of folks on the board and creating the festival, the Adirondack weekend and all the other local dances — it’s been really a good community. My “day job” was creating videos for educational, industrial, non-profit and small business clients. As a member of the Spare Parts band, I travel most weekends to play for contras, vintage dance, tangos & couples dances. Any extra time goes to publishing music books (like The Waltz Book series) and historic dance music recordings. We also really enjoy hiking, cross country skiing and traveling to foreign places.
John Guay, Past President I’ve enjoyed contra dancing for almost 40 years and I met my wife at a contra dance. While my wife and I dance less now, we play a lot more music. She plays piano and I play the hammered dulcimer. We jam a lot around Saratoga at the Parting Glass Celtic Sessions, farmers markets and the occasional contra or barn dance. Since my family roots are in Quebec (both English and French), we attend festivals and dances up there five or six times a year. The Quebecois tunes really appeal to us, so we’ve helped create more interest in them locally.
I served on the DFO board for 14 years and held the President position for 7 years. I took an active role in the continued development of strong fiscal policies and outreach efforts as well as seeking partnership opportunities with other organizations. The DanceFlurry Organization’s ongoing challenges are: 1) to attract a younger generation of dancers and move them into leadership positions in the organization. 2) to find new, affordable dance venues. 3) to partner with other organizations to hold dance events which further both groups goals.