A month or so ago I was approached by a young dancer named Caroline who was looking for sponsorship in some upcoming competitions. I was familiar with her as a contributor to Pure Derek Hough; she had met both Derek Hough and Mark Ballas through her dance studio which is a Fred Astaire Studio owned and operated by Fabian Sanchez, a former professional on Dancing with the Stars. As a result, she had a lot of great pictures of Derek that she contributed to the site, in addition to writing a blog about meeting the guys. So, through Pure Derek Hough, Caroline and I got to be friends and I wanted to help her out, as much as I could.
As you might imagine, dance instruction and competition is often prohibitively expensive. As a result, many young people with talent don’t ever get a chance to develop and nuture that talent, let alone compete in ballroom competitions. Instruction alone is more than a dollar per minute, in many cases. At a local level, competition can be more than $45 per dance – if you advance, it can get up into the hundreds of dollars per competition. And you’ve seen the costuming! As a result, John and I have come up with a plan – we’re going to continue sponsoring Caroline and we’re going to do it in conjunction with Pure DWTS. One of the first things cut in any school or community are the arts – we think that is a huge shame and a great loss to the community and the people who live in it.
You will see a logo on the upper right hand side of the page that says “Pure DWTS Merchandise” or you can click over to our Pure DWTS Store. At this store you can buy Pure DWTS related merchandise at surprisingly low prices. Here’s an example of one of the t-shirts:
We’re going to donate a percentage of proceeds from sales at the store, in addition to a certain amount of our personal income from the site as necessary, in order to sponsor Caroline – and possibly other young dancers, if the program is successful. Consider this a trial balloon to see if we can get a dancing sponsorship going here – we don’t have much money, but we want to help, so your participation will mean we can help more dancers.
The great news is that Caroline had some success recently in competition – she won the junior division of Birmingham Ballroom Challenge held by Kasia Kozak and this past May she won the Magic City Invitational. I’ve included some pictures, with her permission, below: