Our Board

DanceFlurry Organization Board members are residents of Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Washington Counties, and Western Massachusetts.  Among them, they represent participants of all the types of dances sponsored by the DFO.  Several are also musicians.  We invite you to join the leadership of the DFO by volunteering with a committee or joining the board.  For more information, contact danceinfo@danceflurry.org.

President: John Guay

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 have served on the DFO board longer than I can remember and have held the President position since 2013.  I’ve taken 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.

Second Vice President: Melanie Axel Lute

I am a dancer and caller of contra, English country dance, and community dances. I’ve been on the Dance Flurry board since 2014 and have helped draft policies on consent in dancing and dance etiquette. I am the administrator of the revived Capital District Megaband, was very involved in creating the “Day of Dance” event at Shaker Heritage Society, and have served as liaison to several of the English Country Dances operating under the Flurry umbrella.

I hope to find new ways to spread the joy of dance and music throughout the Capital District.

Treasurer: 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 have been serving 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.

Secretary: Mark Berman

I play tenor banjo and octave mandolin in a number of regional sessions, playing pan-celtic (mostly Quebecois and Irish) dance music for many years in the band for the Williams College dance department’s Irish dance troupe; as well as the band for the Williams contra-dance student club.  I have also been playing with a group at Mass MoCA, and enjoy contra dancing myself when not on the bandstand.

During my tenure on the board, I have participated in a number of outreach events, working with other board members and DFO supporters to increase the awareness of the DFO and of traditional music and dance in general.  As a member of the Siena College administration, I have been responsible for creating web-based programs and protocols.  I have been contributing my knowledge in this area to lead the board in developing the new DFO website.  In addition, I stepped up to fill the vacant position of Secretary of the Board beginning in June, 2016.

 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.

Barbara Bemis

I dance regularly at the Albany Contra, Clifton Park Contra, and Buhrmaster Barn Dances, have attended the Adirondack Dance Weekend and the Flurry Festival.  I am very active with a Scottish Dance group, has performed at the Festival.

I am a high school teacher, and spend my life coordinating programs, field trips, etc., and have also been active with my church leadership committee.  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.

Karyn Dornemann

I am involved as a participant member dancer at the Albany Contra dance, the Albany Swing Dance, the Cajun and Zydeco Dance,the Buhrmaster Barn Dance and the Flurry Festival.  I have attended various other DFO sponsored events over the years.    

I am a chiropractor and have been involved for many years with a number of health care organizations.  I think continued community outreach is important to get more people dancing.  I also really love the Cajun and Zydeco dance series and think that it’s a program worth developing (in addition to everything else the DFO does).  I’d love to see more young people at a Zydeco dance.

Ken Fisher

My involvement with DFO to date has been participating in various dances and attending the Flurry Festival. I learned contra dance while in Cincinnati. I learned swing here in Albany and participate in the contra and swing dances.

I am a recently retired mechanical engineer formerly working at GE Global Research. I am interested in promoting the DFO dance events.

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

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.

Kristen Lilkas-Rain

I attend the Family Dance series and Albany Contradances! and am interested in working on youth outreach.

Shira Love

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.  I’ve just resumed learning the fiddle following an 12-year hiatus, and look forward to playing with the Megaband.

I have worked as a mental health counselor and youth tutor, and volunteered for many community organizations, including my children’s school, where I run events for its family organization.  As liaison for the Family and Community dances, I have worked to promote DFO events and look for new partnerships.  I hope to increase the awareness of, participation in, and reach of traditional music and dance in the community, and have been leading an effort to develop an updated approach to publicity for the DFO.

Harry Pisila

I currently attend numerous Flurry dance events, Swing, Contra, and Cajun and Zydeco and almost every Flurry Festival. I taught lessons at the first two Dance Flurries in 1988 and 1989 and several times when the swing dance was held at the Hibernian Hall. I am also currently involved with a jamming group.

I am a Registered Architect and have been active in planning and other municipal boards over the years.   I love dance for the art of it.  I would like to be a spokesman for dance as a vehicle for a more personal form of social interaction between people (versus Facebook), and to show that it is OK to dance. I think that it is vital that the organization continue to find ways to attract the next generation of dancers.

Juliana Post-Good

I have participated in Family Dances, when my child was younger and more recently attend contras at the Y in Clifton Park, Buhrmaster Barn dances, Octagon Barn dances, and Harmony hall etc. I have recently attended ECD dances as well. I consider The Flurry an annual pilgrimage, and have brought guests along from Boston and Alaska.

I have been active in a number of community organizations including environmental groups and the Latham Circle Squares, a square dance club.  I attend Tri County folk dancers regularly and have relished learning International Folk dances, in addition to all of the Community dances.  I am eager to encourage new dancers to try out what might work best for them.

Patricia Stephens

I currently attend dances and festivals, help where needed, and encourage family and friends to attend dances and festivals to enjoy the great company of fellow dancers and musicians.  I have served on the Finance Committee and Liaison Committee.

By profession I am a project manager for an engineering company. I have volunteered in my home community since arriving here in 1975. Contra dance found me in 2000, and I am thankful that I am still meeting new dancers and salute the life this DFO community brings to the capital region. I support the outreach to young people and the diversity of dance and music genres sponsored by the DFO.

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 ScienceOne of my main interests is in promoting dance (especially contra dance) to a younger demographic.

Sandy Waxgiser

I dance at all contra and English Country dances in this region and have been volunteering with the Capital English Country Dances.  I am currently the liaison to the Clifton Park Contra Dance.

I’ve been active with a number of local and regional community organizations for many years.  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.


Emeritus Members

Paul Rosenberg, Founder, DanceFlurry Organization

I have been leading dances throughout the northeastern United States since 1986. In recent years, I have been one of the busiest callers in North America, working over 200 dance engagements a year. I am known for my gentle but energetic, encouraging style, concise teaching, and offbeat sense of humor. My programs consist of community dances from the Hudson Valley, United Kingdom, Appalachia, and New England, as well as international folk dances and African-American singing and playparty games. 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 also call contra dances and perform at numerous major festivals and events around the Northeast. I play recorder and fiddle. I founded and organized the Flurry Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY for eighteen years; Fiddlers’ Tour, a weekly fiddle tune jam session in the Albany area; and have been organizing a monthly family dance in Albany since 1994. I also founded and served on the Board of Directors of the DanceFlurry Organization.

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.