Thursday, February 13, 2014

Brownsville ISD Ballroom Mini Match!

Dancers from Brownsville ISD had a chance to swing their bodies not only to music but to help
underprivileged students from one of the poorest areas of the country get a new hold on their

For the first time, Brownsville ISD held their Ballroom Mini Match with the non-profit Dancing Thru Life volunteers on January 11, 2014 at the Veterans High School. Faculty Members of Veterans
High School and Dancing Thru Life hosted the Brownsville Ballroom Mini Match.
While the evening offered a night of fun and dancing, the true focus was on over 400 students from
Brownsville Independent School District. This unique ballroom event was sold out two weeks prior with over 750 spectators.

Stephanie Schlueter and Mark Adler are the founders of the non-profit Dancing Thru Life and also owners of several Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Texas.  This is their fifth year teaching Brownsville ISD students the patience and dedication involved with ballroom dancing.
Stephanie Schlueter Originally from Germany has been teaching children how to dance ever since she was a teenager and shares a wild passion for dance. “There is no other sport on the planet like it,” Schlueter said. “In ballroom dancing you learn integrity, etiquette, social skills and manners. It helps you on so many levels and it truly instills a great amount of confidence in children.” Ballroom School Programs grow from two campuses and 40 students in Brownsville ISD to the entire district, with 46 campuses and over 1,000 children of all ages dancing and participating in their program.

Rebecca Rendon, administrator of fine arts for Brownsville ISD, first got the idea of creating a
ballroom program after seeing a documentary about children learning life skills from dancing. She
emphasized that it’s not unlike other school programs, as students are required to have passing
grades to participate, and said that the program has been incredibly beneficial to students’ wellbeing.
“We had no idea the impact it was going to have at first,” Rendon said. “We started with 10 out 37
elementaries in our first year of the ballroom program. Originally, we only worked with fifth graders
and below but after demand from the parents we opened it up to middle school and high school

Through dancing lessons three days a week, Schlueter and Adler said students learn important social skills
while participating in an activity that is healthy and extremely disciplined. They venture to
Brownsville ISD generally with seven other volunteers.
“This program is more than just dance lessons,” Schlueter said. “Dancing is something they can
use to grow and learn from and ultimately helps them in life.”

Brownsville is a particularly poor area of Texas, with 98 percent of citizens classified as
economically disadvantaged, Rendon said. Over 60 percent of students have never even been out
of Brownsville before.“You may think it’s something very simple, but for them to a restaurant and order food and learn about things like gratuity and tax on a bill is a whole process,” Rendon said. During their visits to
The Woodlands, each child is given a small amount of money that they learn to budget with,
providing yet another learning aspect. “This has really pushed these kids to pass,” Rendon said. “You don’t want to see kids on the streets looking for something to do and this is something that is really a big deal in their lives.”

Stephanie Schlueter and Mark Adler are hoping to make competitions like the one held on Jan. 11th into an annual event as Dancing Thru Life looks to get more members of the community involved and teaching Brownsville students when they visit The Woodlands. “We’re looking for more people to see this program and open their heart to children who cannot do what we do every day,” Schlueter said. “I run dance studios and I do what I love, but if I did not have people that supported me I would not be where I am. Some of those kids can live the same dream I am living to do what they love and to feel like they never have to work a day in their lives.” 
In addition to help these dancers; Fred Astaire Dance Studio The Woodlands and Sugar Land are
now selling the Dancing thru Life 2014 calendar in the studios for only $49.99! All proceeds will go
to to help another child’s dream come true. 

Mark Adler and Stephanie Schlueter will also be hosting the Dancingthrulife first annual fundraiser on Thursday July 31, 2014 at The Woodlands Fred Astaire Dance Studio! All proceeds will go to

More information about Dancing Thru Life can be found online at:

 Article by: Raquel Sarabia .Marketing Director. Fred Astaire Dance Studios

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