The Prince George's County school system has made it known that the dancers-in-residence program sponsored by the arts division of the county's department of parks and recreation could be used in the public schools.
Behind that recent notification lay six months of interagency exchanges over the use of community resources in the Prince George's public school system.
Federal funds for the dancers-in-residence program were awarded to the arts division last May under Title VI of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA).
Under the program six professional dancers would spend two weeks in a junior high school demonstrating the basics of modern dance, including movement and make-up. Each two-week residency would end with a performance for the students by the professional company.
According to Ellen Pierce, assistant coordinator of the arts division, no official contact between the division and the school system took place until after the CETA grant had been awarded. In late May representatives of the two agencies met to discuss the dance program that the arts division was offering.
Difficulties between the school system and the arts division on the wording of the CETA proposal. And at one point during the summer, the school system decided against using the dance program in the public schools.
In September Freda Martin, the physical education supervisor for the county school system, met with representatives of the arts division to see if differences could be reconciled. According to Martin, certain safeguards in regard to supervision of the dance program by the county's PE teachers were written into the proposal.
Additionally, said Martin, the program was reworded to make clear that its use was as a supplement to the basic curriculum offered by the county's teachers.
These changes and others were incorporated into the proposal which was then resubmitted to the school system and aproved last week.
There are three female dancers and three male dancers in the arts division program. Coordinator Mary Louise Duschl is a dance graduate of the University of Maryland and a former member of the Maryland Dance Theater.
Artists director Gregory Reynolds received his dance degree from Sarah Lawrence College and performed for several years with the Paul Taylor dance company.
Dancer/instructor Robert Ghigliotti has performed with the Jose Limon and Alvin Ailey dance companies. Dancer/instructor Addison Hoffman studied with the American Ballet Theater under a full scholarship.
Emily Sutton, also a dancer/instructor, is a Maryland University graduate and a former Maryland dance theater member. Melanie Drumm, the other dancer/instructor, has performed with the Columbia dance theater and taught for the Head Start program in Baltimore.
While awaiting approval for work in the public schools, the Prince George's dancers offered their program to private schools. Recently they finished a two-week session in St. Mark's School, Adelphi.
Under another CETA-funded program the arts division has a group of artists available to advise and demonstrate for groups throughout the county. Although the arts division would like to see some of the artists used by the public schools, chances are growing increasingly slight, according to Pierce. With approval for their use by the school system still pending, the artists are gradually being placed in other areas.
According to Edward Felegy, administrative assistant to the superintendent of Prince George's county schools, the artists question is being considered by the school system's staff.
"What is education and what is recreation takes fine tuning from level to level," especially when its an interagency matter, Felegy said.
Pierce said that the arts division "would welcome the opportunity" to work with the school system. She added that the different perspective each agency would bring could produce an excellent proposal.