Elayne Browne isn't sure she wants to be a professional dancer, but by the end of the summer, she certainly will know what it takes.

One of nine teen-agers participating in the Dance Institute for the Hearing Impaired, which holds classes at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School on the Gallaudet University campus in Northeast, Browne practices a combination of ballet, modern and jazz dance five hours a day, five days a week. Through the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program, the students are paid the minimum wage of $3.35 an hour for attending the institute.

Browne, 19, speaking through a sign language interpreter, said she would like to become a professional dancer "if I can work harder . . . in several years, maybe." The interpreter, Judith Robbins, is employed full time to aid communication between the students and their two hearing instructors: Sandra Fortune-Greene, a faculty member at Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and Melba Lucas, also a faculty memeber at Ellington.

Helping the students into the mainstream is an important goal of the program's founders, Fabian Barnes and Marcia Freeman, whose message to participants who fancy a professional dance career is, "Look, it's possible, but it's going to take double the work."

Last fall, Barnes, a touring member of the Dance Theater of Harlem, taught a master class at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. The school, also part of Gallaudet, develops innovative programs used as models throughout the nation. Impressed with a dance performance Barnes saw there, he suggested a summer dance program for hearing-impaired teen-agers to Marcia Freeman, chairwoman of the Model School's performing arts department.

Freeman and Barnes collaborated on the proposal, which developed into the first program for the hearing impaired to be included in the Arts D.C. summer schedule. Barnes took care of the paper work and Freeman did the leg work of finding an interpreter, arranging for space, and recruiting nine participants from the Model School and Kendall Demonstration School.

"It's a great program, a great opportunity," said Fortune-Greene, who is acting director in Barnes' absence. The students "work here instead of at McDonald's or something."

Wearing parachute pants, a leotard and a wispy ballerina skirt, Fortune-Greene glided across the floor as she pointed to the student uniforms of similar black leotards and chiffon skirts, noting how important it is for the students to look like professional dancers.

Fortune-Greene said there is no difference between teaching deaf students and hearing students. "The {stereo} speakers are bigger," she noted, but essentially, for any type of dance class, "counting is a guide to the music, so {students} know where they are in the piece."

Keeping the beat is no problem in the modern dance class taught by Yola Rozynek, a volunteer instructor who pounds on her drum with such fervor that students with some hearing cover their ears and grimace. Expressions change to self-conscious giggles as students try their best to imitate Rozynek's mind-bending series of stretches and contortions. Rozynek was a member of a professional dance company in Israel.

The students at the institute enjoy themselves, and practice with determination for their performances at 7:30 tonight at Carter Barron Amphitheater, and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sylvan Theater.

The second performance is the one Barnes sees as the institute's culminating event. It will include the group's own program: a ballet choreographed by Fortune-Greene ("Khachaturian Waltz"), a modern dance choreographed by Rozynek ("Short Circuit"), and a jazz piece choreographed by Lucas ("Diamonds"), plus a joint performance by students at the Jones-Haywood School and the dance institute.