Pauline Kim

Fred Astaire Dance Studios Student

Some of you already know, that when I see something amazing, inspiring and unbelievable; the only word that automatically comes out of my mouth is a very loud, "WOW!" Last year at this time, I attended my first Texarama as a novice in the event's Team match.  I had heard about the Brownsville ISD students coming to participate, but as I entered the ballroom at the San Luis Resort in Galveston and saw for the first time the sea of gorgeous young men and women wearing light brown T-shirts, and the Fred Astaire students in their studio colors, the roar of clapping, and cheering, the lights, and all the energy and the excitement was lifting the room higher than high...all I could say was, "WOW!" my first of many... I had no idea of what to expect!

It seemed like the room was swirling with bodies with song after song! The teens from Brownsville were so awesome!  Their dancing skills and technique were so elegant and poised! They oozed confidence with each committed step through both their smooth and rhythm dance heats.  They were all mesmerizing to watch!  I could not keep my eyes off each couple because they were so delightful to look at; their posture, their expressions, their dance lines...WOW! You could see the passion and the connection they had as they danced together.  It is exactly what we all want with our own dance partners, but this was something special. I think it was a bond and a trust, a pride in one another, and a purpose of what they represented to their family and friends of Brownsville that set them apart... they seized this opportunity to be transformed by their ability to ballroom dance and I was totally moved by it. WOW!

I was privileged to be sitting on the floor amongst some of the students that evening, and as I waited to dance in the team match, I was a little embarrassed at my novice abilities.  The students Vanessa and Jose sitting around me were kind and encouraging. They were so courteous, polite and engaging as we shared our interests in dance with one another. Then, during general dancing, a couple of sweet young men asked me to dance.  At the time, I did not know salsa that well, but they were patient and even taught me a new step.  That was a special moment for me because I realized then that the love of dance and music crosses all genders, cultures and generations!! In a world where young people get dismissed or criticized for their interests, and older people think they cannot learn something new from a young person; I was joyfully dancing the salsa with a teenager who wasn't too embarrassed to be seen dancing with an old lady!!!  WOW, How cool is that?

After the 2012 event, I was inspired and compelled to make sure that I would be a supporter, and a participant in the 2013 Texarama event.  I am excited to see all the new finalists back at Galveston this year, and I know they all will be amazing! At the Woodland Studio fund raising mixer held recently, I got to watch the talented Brownsville student finalists and their school's teachers at their mini-match. WOW, I felt the love, and the commitment they all have for each other and  their passion for dance, and that is the best reason to keep this curriculum going for this year and the years to come. If we can continue to teach and ask each other to dance without any fear or barriers; I think we would have a hope for this generation, and for them to maybe even help teach the whole world to dance!!  Even if you cannot dance, just to be a spectator of a community of people dancing, smiling and laughing is positive energy that is contagious! Music and dancing has transformed my life and I am so grateful for my teachers at the Fred Astaire studios...so let's help, support and ask someone to dance, one partner at a time and "Don't stop THIS party!"

Joy Dowell

Fred Astaire Dance Studios Student

Dancing fuels the soul for greatness.

As a student of dance, I know how dancing has given me the confidence to achieve goals that I never thought were possible. It spills over to my work and personal relationships. If we teach our children they can achieve anything with discipline, focus and passion, we will help them fulfill their dreams. What better way to invest in the future of our country than in our children. One dance at a time….