IndieAustin: Tapestry Dance

Tapestry Dance is both 30 years old and brand new in their new home at 2015 East Riverside Drive – behind Taco More.  Founded in 1989, Tapestry leapt onto the international stage and instantly became a highly regarded multi-dance form company and academy.  The professional company actually exists as the only full-time professional dance company specializing in rhythm tap dance in the world and the organization hosts one of the oldest international tap festivals worldwide every June. But Tapestry’s reach extended far beyond the performing dance world with its multiform dance academy that makes dance accessible to everyone of all ages and levels.

Co-Founding Artistic Directors Acia Gray and Deirdre Strand created Tapestry to bring together the diverse worlds of tap dance, contemporary, ballet, modern, and jazz.  Over the decades, Tapestry’s reputation and expertise in tap and tap fusion has earned a global reputation. As well, the company’s Annual Soul to Sole International Tap Festival brings together dancers from all parts of the world in a multi-day celebration of dance technique and history every June and exists as one of the oldest tap festivals in existence.

Tapestry Dance Company is a resident company of the Long Center and presents a full season of performances as well as touring many productions across the US and abroad. Tapestry Dance Company concerts are known for telling profound stories and looking at compelling issues through a fusion of dance, music, poetry, and percussion as well as celebratory tributes to this indigenous American art form.

On the educational front, Tapestry Dance Academy has taught dancers of all levels and from all walks of life with astonishing results.  Students of the company’s training programs have gone on to professional dance careers not only with Tapestry itself but with STOMP, Michelle Dorrance Dance, Momix, Doug Varone & Dancers, The Rhythmic Arts, and Sound Movement in New York City to name a few.  In a non-competition atmosphere, youth and adult students looking for anything from professional honing to a great workout have found themselves in Tapestry dance classes. The academy’s focus is on increasing self-confidence and self-expression while celebrating the history and technique of each style of dance –  allowing students to become dancers in the truest sense: through their art, they share themselves with their families and their communities whether for recreation or professional training.

Tapestry celebrates more than dance, more than rhythm, more than art–it celebrates life itself.  Tapestry’s dances, concerts, classes, and faculty all embrace the art form of dance and the rhythm that connects us all.

Now that Tapestry Dance has found its new home in the Riverside neighborhood, this long-standing, nonprofit organization stands ready to welcome dancers of all ages and from all parts of Austin and beyond.  Who is the ideal person to take a class at Tapestry Dance or go see a show?  You and your family! If you are alive then your heart has a beat; come celebrate that beat and the rhythm of your life with a dance class at Tapestry!

You can find out more about Tapestry Dance, the professional company, the academy and our various AISD outreach programS and scholarships at

Sharing the Power of Dance Since 1989

UPCOMING EVENTS at The Long Center/The Rollins Theatre ( for tickets)

Of Mice & Music – A Jazz Tap Nutcracker (December 12th – 22nd)

Looking Forward/Looking Back (March 26th-29th 2020) – premiere

IndieAustin: Think Big! Program

The Think Big! Program and its creators, Sandy Stewart (Founder) and Natalie Rodgers (Program Designer), are based right in the heart of the South First IBIZ District. They support small business growth here at home in Austin, as well as across the United States.

The Think Big! Program is a training program that was initially designed in 2007 as a spin-off product of Swiss Avenue Partners, its parent company. Swiss Avenue Partners’ proprietary training tools and methodologies were redesigned to fit the small- and micro-business needs and became the Think Big! Program. At the heart of all of their tools is the objective to support companies in understanding their business value and how to grow it.

From day one of starting the company in Sacramento, Sandy had her sights set on moving the company to Austin where she had already been living previously for 6+ years. As she says ‘Once an Austinite, always an Austinite’. She was sure to tell anyone in California who called her a Californian, ‘oh no, I’m a Texan who just happens to be living in California’. She moved the company’s headquarters to Austin in 2010 and never looked back.

When it’s time to put their strategic hats on for their own business, they get out of the office and head to some of their favorite Austin spots like Barton Springs Pool or the Austin Public Library. They can also be seen out and about checking out the local coffee shops and restaurants when they want to get into a creative thinking mode.

The curriculum teaches business skills, from the basic to the complex. Some have even referred to it as their own customized MBA program, specifically tailored to their company’s needs. Business owners and key (or upcoming) managers learn skills, know-how, and shortcuts for how to run a better business.

It includes topics that range from Direct and Indirect Sales, Strategic Planning modules, Financial Modeling lessons to modules dedicated to hiring and managing staff and developing high-functioning managers.

Because the program services a multitude of industries, they have fun playing in all different types of companies; bakeries, accounting firms, IT consulting firms, confectioners, manufacturing, construction, auto transportation, and senior care services to name a few. In all, they’ve helped over 67 different industries.

There are some areas that the program does not focus on, and in those areas the team at Think Big! Program becomes a referral source for a multitude of B2B service providers. They often uncover business needs that are best served by other experts, such as Marketing consulting, CPA and accounting services, bookkeeping services, IT consulting, legal services to just about anything that a small business might ever need.

Because the Think Big! Program team lives and breathes a value of community, they are keen to know well any B2B professional service neighbors so that their clients have a matchmaking experience that provides the best fit referral tailored to their need and personality style.   

Sandy and Natalie were excited to join AIBA because they felt such a strong match of values between the Think Big! Program and the AIBA community. Both care deeply about small businesses and believe that strong, healthy, small business growth is what fuels a healthy economy and feeds a local community with flavor and style.

You never know when you might see them around town teaching at luncheons, breakfasts, webinars, or other events. Please introduce yourself. They are eager to get to know their fellow AIBA members and fans.

Contact the team at Think Big! Program via email at, by phone at (512) 686-3600 or visit their online academy at Check out the parent company at

In Op-Ed for Fortune ILSR Details the High Cost of Cashless Retail Trend

Originally published in Fortune
by Charlie Thaxton

Cashless retail is on the rise and has begun to concern some lawmakers. New Jersey recently banned the practice. Philadelphia has done the same. So far, the debates leading up to these laws have mostly centered on how cash-free establishments exclude unbanked citizens.

In a commentary piece for Fortune, ILSR researcher Charlie Thaxton details another major cost. Cashless retail — and credit cards in general — allow a handful of credit card monopolies and big banks to siphon billions of dollars from consumers and businesses through the swipe fees they charge merchants. These fees amounted to $79 billion last year.

Businesses, especially small ones, have little leverage to negotiate these fees, which average about 2 percent of a transaction. Refusing to accept Visa and Mastercard isn’t a viable option, either. READ MORE.

Amy's EDU: The Scoop on Entrepreneur Secrets (Wed, May 08, 2019)

We are thrilled to present Amy’s EDU: The Amy’s Way. Amy’s Ice Creams has been “Making People’s Days” since 1984. This Texas staple is known for their award-winning super-premium ice cream, high flying ice cream acrobatics, and world-class customer service. But what a lot of people don’t know, that the ice cream business is just a front for what we really are…an entrepreneurial training business.

This workshop was so well received at out Local Resource Academy, that we’re offering an encore for lunch. Everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing YOU there!

Enjoy a delicious taco bar at El Mercado Backstage and walk away with a new perspective from your friends at Amy’s Ice Creams.

In partnership with the City of Austin Small Business Program.

Check out other sessions offered by the City of Austin Small Business Program in celebration of National Small Business Week.

Source: Events

Breakfast: Navigating the changing landscape of social media and other marketing methods for local business – What’s changed, what hasn’t and does it even matter? (Tue, April 09, 2019)

Julie Niehoff will leave you with simple, manageable steps you can take right now to get more out of your own marketing without having to change the way you do everything and without having to spend a lot of money. This session will include time for Q&A with a focused discussion on whatever topics our participants bring into the mix.

2 for 2 Member Showcase features Blain Haig from Gold Standard Floor Care.

Free for AIBA members and prospective members. Thank you to Texas Coffee Traders for fabulous coffee and Tacodeli for delicious breakfast tacos to start our day off right! 

Julie Niehoff is an executive marketing coach, helping small businesses and nonprofit organizations tel their story and find their stride. She also helps big brands like Facebook, Microsoft and UPA better understand, reach and teach small organizations. She serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Austin-based Distance Learning Media and founded a popular event series called Local Biz Camps in 2016

Niehoff has more than 20 years in technology marketing and her background is largely focused on education and training. One of her most recent projects was to build the new AIBA website, Her speaking style is informal, non-technical and practical.

Source: Events