Deadline for the Maine Arts Commission’s dance education grants for PK-12 schools and teaching artists is Wednesday, May 2. Applications must be filed by 5 p.m. that day in MAC’s online grants management system at

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; East End Community School in Portland; and Prescott Memorial School in Washington, where Chrissy Fowler of Belfast Flying Shoes had a dance residency that culminated with a community dance.

“All of my residencies have common goals: everyone participates in the dancing, exhibits pro-social behaviors, and makes connections across grade levels,” said Fowler.

Jim Freyenhagen, a sixth-grade teacher at Prescott Memorial, said he was “amazed” at how quickly the students picked up the rhythm, steps … and more.

“Not only are they learning to dance, they are practicing their social skills with their peers and younger students,” he said.

Funding for this program is made possible through the generosity of a collaboration facilitated by Thornton Academy dance educator Emma Arenstam Campbell; the Dancers Making a Difference nonprofit organization; and several community dance studios committed to raising funds for dance education.

Grant guidelines and application criteria are on the website, and MAC encourages PK-12 educators or teaching artists to review them prior to applying. The funding cycle for these grants is for projects from Sept. 1, 2018, through through March 30, 2019.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or