Dance Teacher Wins Rasmuson Grant to Learn & Teach Hip Hop

Mary Beth Loewen. Courtesy of Mary Beth Loewen
Mary Beth Loewen. Courtesy of Mary Beth Loewen

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A dance teacher will bring hip hop classes to Kodiak, but first she says she needs to perfect her teaching method.

Mary Beth Loewen, who grew up in Kodiak, just won a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Project Award – one of 25 project awards the Foundation presented this year to artists all across the state.

Loewen will use her $7,500 dollars to attend workshops in Maine and Arizona.

“Teaching dance is very different from actually dancing, and so going to these teacher workshops will be really beneficial for me. My background and all my areas of expertise is actually Russian classical ballet. That’s my passion all my training. So, doing hip hop will definitely be a boundary stretcher for me.”

She says maybe that’s what Rasmuson selected her.

She says last summer she took a week-long intensive in Maine focusing on teaching hip-hop, and she now leads two hip-hop classes for kids up to age 11 at the Little School of Dance.

She also teaches ballet, and has held some popular short-term workshops through the Arts Council on ballroom dance and swing dance.

And soon, Loewen says, she’ll be taking over the Little School of Dance, which Molly Brodie has owned and directed for over 17 years.

“I’m just looking forward to expanding the variety of classes that we offer and also the age ranges that we offer. We’re actually changing the name because it’s a pretty big step for me, so it’ll be the Next Step Studio, and like I said, this award is the perfect timing to have energy and new skills to bring into it.”

Loewen says they’ll pursue more classes for adults like tap dance and hip hop, and they’ll also have more short-term classes like swing for adults.

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