Dance Education Grant deadline May 2

A great opportunity for Maine schools and teaching artists
Posted:  Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 7:00am
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The Wednesday, May 2 deadline for the Maine Arts Commission’s dance education grants for PK-12 schools and teaching artists is quickly approaching. Applications must be filed by 5 p.m. in the Commission’s online grants management system at www.MaineArts.com.

Launched in 2015, the dance education grant provides high quality learning opportunities for students and educators in schools where dance education is not being offered. Dance education changes lives, yet only 5 percent of all schools in Maine offer opportunities in this artistic discipline, according to the Arts Education Census study conducted in 2016 by the Maine Arts Commission.

This past year, the program funded residencies at Hebron Academy in Hebron; Prescott Memorial School in Washington; and East End Community School in Portland. Chrissy Fowler was one of three recipients chosen from the Maine Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Roster for one of the previous dance education grants. Chrissy’s dance residency included four weekly visits to Prescott Memorial School, culminating with a community dance.
 
“I think students, staff and families value the chance to connect in a fun and active way,” Chrissy said. “All of my residencies have common goals: everyone participates in the dancing, exhibits pro-social behaviors, and makes connections across grade levels.”
 
Chrissy’s residency specifically focused on K-6 students learning contra dance, or social dancing that consists of lines of partners pairing off and performing sequences led by a caller.  
 
When asked about the dance residency, sixth grade students said it was a welcoming new experience. “I have been amazed at how quickly the students picked up the rhythm and the steps,” said Jim Freyenhagen, a sixth-grade teacher at Prescott Memorial School. “Not only are they learning to dance, they are practicing their social skills with their peers and younger students.”
 
Funding for this program is made possible through the generosity of a collaboration facilitated by Thornton Academy dance educator Emma Arenstam Campbell, Dancers Making a Difference non-profit organization, and several community dance studios committed to raising funds for dance education. 

“We are extremely appreciative of these contributions and the impact they will have on dance education in Maine," said Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “There are so few dance education programs in our state and this is one important way we can make a difference for the students that we serve." 

Grant guidelines and application criteria are at www.MaineArts.com and the Commission encourages PK-12 educators or teaching artists to review them prior to applying. The funding cycle for these grants is for projects from September 1, 2018 through March 30, 2019.

For more information visit the grants and the teaching artist roster webpages at www.MaineArts.com.

For questions regarding the grants or current teaching roster, contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at 207-287-2713 or email at argy.nestor@maine.gov.