Kari Hovde took her first dance lesson at the age of five, at Olympic Ballet in Edmonds. She hasn’t stopped.
She’s been teaching at the Charisma School of Dance for 25 years, sharing her passion with countless students young and old, and now she’s launching a foundation to help more people experience the many rewards of dance.
“Dance is not just a sport or an art, and it takes more than just talent and technique. It teaches teamwork, work ethic, problem-solving and other life skills,” she says. “I’ve been teaching and taking dance my entire life, and I’ve seen how it improves dancers’ lives. Sometimes the dance community is the only safe community youth have, and I want to continue to foster that opportunity.”
So this fall, after years of careful preparation, Hovde launched The Backstage Foundation, a non-profit that funds opportunities for young dancers to build their talent and character while fulfilling their dreams and inspiring others.
Dance scholarships help young dancers reach the next level
In just two months, The Backstage Foundation has already raised $14,000, and plans to offer their first round of dance scholarships in late spring to summer 2022.
- Novice/Intermediate Scholarships: For dancers with one to six years of dance experience and provides funds to attend additional classes at their studio, or attend local conventions, workshops or competitions. “For example, there is a ton of talent in high school dance programs, where fees are often much more affordable. These scholarships help youth pursue dance when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Hovde says.
- Advanced/Pre-professional Scholarships: For dancers with seven or more years’ dance experience and provides ongoing mentorship and funding for professional headshots, audition video, competition fees, travel, and additional training.
- Never too late Scholarships: For naturally gifted dancers with little to no professional training, or for an advanced dancer who wants to reignite their dance career and provides funding for professional headshots, audition video, competition fees and travel.
- Service Awards: Once dancers have a scholarship, they can earn a community service scholarship by giving back to their community. That could be by marketing on their social media, teaching a class, participating in a performance, or finding a new funder. “We want to give youth the experience of being part of something that’s bigger than just receiving, that’s also about giving back, to get their hearts into the mission as well,” Hovde says.
Scholarship funds will go to dance organizations and studios, not directly to dancers, and Hovde says all fundraising will be linked with a performance or dance video.
“We’re in the entertainment industry after all! Our main fundraiser will be an annual benefit show every spring, where our scholarship recipients will perform along with other local talent, and we’ll create dance videos and other things throughout the year.”