Bede Lamar Leyendecker was born, raised and educated in Laredo, Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Education with Dance Certification and a Master of Education with Dance Specialization.
Bede began her dance studies at the age of five. Throughout her education and career she has been fortunate to study with many dance greats including the Martha Graham Company, the Paul Taylor Company, the Alvin Ailey Company, Daniel Nagrin, Jose Greco Sr., Nana Lorca, Maria Magdalena, Jose Greco Jr., Rogelio Rodriguez, Marc Aurelio and others. She has studied, taught and performed a variety of Dance genres over the years. She taught at Laredo Community College for fifteen years and at Texas A&M International University for seventeen years. At both institutions she implemented curriculum and minors for Dance; created student organizations for dance; traveled students to and taught annually at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) and the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) Conferences; and directed programs and hundreds of performances for the community.
Bede has received numerous local, state and national teaching awards over her thirty-two-year career and was honored with LULAC Council #7 ‘Higher Education Award’ and the Laredo Morning Times ‘Hero of Hope’ Awards in 20012. She was selected as the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) ‘Teacher of the Year College/University’ Award in 2000; ‘Honor’ Award in 2009; ‘Scholar Award’ in 2014 and ‘Dance Heritage Award’ in 2018. She also received the Webb County Historical Foundation’s Award for ‘Preservation of Folklore, Customs and Traditions’ on two occasions. In 2019 she was a nominee for the Jefferson Award.
She continues to support her love of dance and teach through ‘Almas Gitanas’, a Spanish Dance Company with twelve former students who share her passion for Spanish Dance. The mission of Almas Gitanas is to preserve and promote the art of Spanish Dance. The company is dedicated to providing enriching cultural experiences and performances to the community.