April 7 Annual Meeting Information: Board Candidates and Bylaws Amendments

In less than a week, at our April 7 dance, we will host BIDA's annual member meeting. Anyone who attends this dance is eligible to participate. At the meeting we will elect a new BIDA board and vote on three amendments to the bylaws that the current board is proposing to simplify future elections. Here's a sample ballot that will be available during the break at the dance:

You can read an explanation of our proposed amendments and our original bylaws.

This year we have a competitive board election with eleven candidates for seven board seats. We've collected information from all the candidates so you can read about them before you vote.

 * indicates an incumbent board member running for reelection

Bret Casey

Bret Casey has been contra dancing in the Boston area since 2009. He also enjoys several other forms of dance, playing games and learning new things. This year, he hopes to get more involved in building community surrounding BIDA events and helping to support the continued growth of this dance.

Cindy Dill

Contra dancing has been a central part of Cindy’s identity for the last 44 years.  As she retires from teaching,  she is excited to have significantly more time and energy to devote to the local dance community.  As someone who has worked with many non-profit boards such as NEFFA, Parent’s Nursery School, Fayerweather Street School,, she has lots of experience with the financial working of nonprofits. Since BIDA’s inception, Cindy has been inspired by how BIDA proactively creates welcoming and lively dance spaces and has often promoted BIDA”s approaches to other organizations.  If elected, Cindy is excited to give plentiful time and energy to BIDA. She is willing to use organizational, spreadsheet and people skills wherever they are most needed so that BIDA continues to be the best dance around!

Emma Azelborn*

Emma has been passionate about building welcoming communities centered around music and dance since she discovered contra dancing in 2015. She started the first gender-free contra dance in Los Angeles, has been a BIDA regular since she moved to Boston in 2019, and has served on the BIDA board since 2022. Emma posts BIDA events and content on social media and is on the band booking committee. If re-elected, she's excited to continue building a local dance welcoming to everyone, to experiment with ways to help new dancers build their dancing skills, and to create opportunities for techno contra and new local bands and callers.

Gabriel Dubinsky

Gabriel discovered contra dancing two years ago soon after moving to Boston, and feels very lucky to have found such a warm and welcoming community here. BIDA has allowed him to grow as a dancer, musician, and sound engineer (you may have seen him roaming the hall with the blue tablet!). If elected, he would be especially excited to get more directly involved with the callers, musicians, and sound engineers that keep BIDA going strong. He would be honored to help sustain this incredible dance and community.

Harris Lapiroff*

Harris has been attending BIDA dances regularly since he moved to Somerville in 2017. He’s an experienced dance organizer who keeps events running smoothly and cares about making them inclusive and welcoming. He joined the BIDA board in 2019 and has served as caller booker, intraboard coordinator, hall manager, and safety rep. He is also a member of the board of Pinewoods Camp Inc., a traditional music and dance camp in Plymouth MA, and a contra dance caller. Previously he was on the Youth Dance Weekend committee for six years. If reelected he will continue to book a mix of up-and-coming and experienced callers, organize BIDA special events, and keep track of the loose ends of dance organizing.

Jeff Kaufman*

Jeff joined the BIDA board in 2010 and over the years has booked callers, bands, and sound, designed and maintained the website, hall managed, called, played and run sound, started Beantown Stomp and our family dance series, handled the relationship with the hall, led open bands and sound workshops, organized jamming parties, served on Safety Team, handled publicity, and served as Secretary and Intraboard Coordinator. He also plays with Kingfisher and the Free Raisins. If elected he intends to continue doing whatever is needed while avoiding being the only person who knows how to do something. 

Naomi Ingber*

Naomi started contra dancing in 2017 and despite traveling the world since then, the dance community in Boston keeps bringing her back home. She joined the BIDA board in 2022 and loves being part of such a collaborative and kind board. She serves as assistant treasurer, hall manages at dances, and helps keep people organized by sending concisely informative emails. Naomi has helped organize Beantown Stomp for the past 2 years and she’s excited to make the festival even more fabulous next year! She wants to help BIDA continue to grow into the coolest, hippest, and most welcoming dance possible. If re-elected, she will continue to send you regularly scheduled emails.

Nate Banks

I am a 10 year contra dance veteran; the last year here at BIDA. The most significant part of my time dancing here is how deep the veins in this community run.

I’ve seen some of the sweetest waltzes, most thunderous contras and top tier talent here at BIDA and I’m proud to call it my home dance. I’ve been a safety rep for a few dances here and there and I’ve engaged with members of the current board to see where my talents might be used. In the same way that contra serves my soul, I want to serve this community in the same way.

I’ve sat in executive boards in the past and the most successful ones have been ones that know the value of group work. I want to be part of that here. I hope to be part of a group of people who care very deeply about this community; keeping us happy, safe, comfortable and welcomed.

Persis Thorndike*

Persis joined the board in 2018 (maybe 2017?) and assumed the role of Volunteer Coordinator, Beantown Stomp Kitchen Queen, and organizer of potlucks. Persis loves adding intergenerationality back into the Board, and she loves dancing with newer dancers and people she doesn't know. If re-elected, she wants to expand the volunteer base and continue to be someone people feel comfortable talking to. 

Tommy Linden

Tommy Linden, frequently known by his color orange before his name, grew up singing and dancing in the suburbs of Boston. He went to school on Long Island, dancing in NYC during the semesters and down in DC during internships, but returned to New England in large part for its vibrant folk scene. An avid sailor, he now designs boats in Rhode Island for his day job as he sings, dances, writes songs and dances, and grows into a budding caller. If elected, he wants to work to increase opportunities for dancers of all experience levels to level their dancing up.

Veer Dedhia*

Veer has served on the BIDA board since mid-2022. As treasurer, he has managed the organization finances, licenses, and contracts. He's loved dancing in Boston, and especially enjoys helping newer dancers find their footing in the community. If elected, he will do his best to ensure that BIDA can financially sustain our dances for many years to come!