With great fanfare this week the Maryland Ballet announced it had signed former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Clark Tippet to a contract as a staff dancer, effective immediately.

And, with great fanfare this week, the Eglevsky Ballet of New York announced that it had signed former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Clark Tippet to a contract as a staff dancer, effective immediately.

A surprised Shelly Rudick, the public relations director of the Maryland Ballet, said she had no knowledge of the Eglevsky Ballet's announcement, and that Tippet was "very excited about joining the Maryland Ballet."

Her similarly surprised counterpart at the Long Island-based Eglevsky troupe agreed that Tippet was an excited fellow -- but that his excitement stemmed from his having joined the Eglevsky Ballet.

Later, the Maryland company's artistic director, Petrus Bosman, informed of the Eglevsky Company's announcement, issued a statement saying, "As far as we're concerned, it's none of our business. Whatever he wants to do is fine."

The Eglevsky Ballet's administrative director, however, said he was aware of Tippet's two-company arrangement and that it was acceptable.

Tippet could not be reached for comment. Industry observers said that while star dancers often make guest appearances with more than one ballet company in the same season, it is highly unusual for a dancer to hold staff positions with two different ensembles.

Peter Diggins, Tippet's manager, said that "as long as performances and rehearsals don't conflict, there's no problem." Although both ballet companies are currently rehearsing for new productions to be presented next month, actual performance dates do not overlap.