Getting To Know Us

Our program is unique, in the following ways:

  • Our program teaches students from Kindergarten through 12th Grade (K-12).
  • We have two professional teachers for each class, to meet the needs of the students and model the dance steps.
  • All students receive medals and engaged in the history, affect and styles of the four dances.
  • For virtual classes, students and teachers are Zooming in from the comfort of their homes and/or hybrid classrooms.
  • We have performed for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Philadelphia Sixers, the Charity Ball (2009, 2010) and we were one of ten groups to dance at the Festival of Francis when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia.
  • We are now teaching students in schools in Philadelphia, PA, Lexington, KY and Los Angeles, CA.

Our History

Dancing with the Students began in 2005 at the Gesu School in Philadelphia, PA, with two classes of fifth graders.

At the end of the Week 10 Grand Finale, the students were asked, “What did you learn?” Three students’ hands went up.

A ten year old boy replied, “Respect for women.”

A ten year old girl replied, “I have more confidence.”

A ten year old girl replied, “I know how to waltz now!”

And just like that, Dancing with the Students was born. As we enter into our 17th year, thousands of students have danced their way into our hearts, in three different states, in close to 30 schools with no budget for the arts.

With the first artistic director, Samantha Readings, Dancing With The Students has developed into a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation that offers ballroom dance instruction to students in grades K-12, in various schools located in Philadelphia, PA, Lexington, KY and Los Angeles, CA. A 10-week program in Waltz, Swing, Tango, and Merengue is taught by qualified ballroom instructors with emphasis placed on “personal flare,” with each child bringing their own personality and style to each dance.

In 2009, Dancing with the Students Troupe was created. These high school students have performed at the Charity Ball at the Union League, at the Philadelphia 76ers games, and the Storybook Ball at the Please Touch Museum.

Our Teachers

Dancing with the Students would not be the success it is without the many gifted professional artists in our company. We have many award winner actors, dancers and choreographers in our dance family.

Susan Martinelli Shea
Susan Martinelli SheaPresident and Founder
K. O'Rourke
K. O'RourkeDirector of Programming / Lead Ballroom Dance Instructor
Leah Holleran
Leah HolleranBallroom Dance Instructor