ROUSES POINT The village will once again be center stage for the arts scene in the North Country as Norte Maar for Collaborative Projects in the Arts welcomes a host of artists and performers. The international performing and visual arts company will host SUMMERDANCE RP:08, a three-week celebration of the arts, beginning Monday, July 28. The event, now in its fifth year, will consist of two art exhibitions, a site-specific dance performance, the conservatory of dance, collaborative art exchanges for children, and the annual Fete de Danse concert featuring regional, national, and international dance companies. Norte Maars president, Julia K. Gleich, and Jason Andrew, the organizations director, originally collaborated on the event in 2004, which has grown each year. There was a decision to do it and Jason, in his amazing way, pulled everything together in a relatively short period of time to make his vision happen, said Gleich. As an arts collaborative group, Norte Maar has contacts all over the world, said Andrew. Focusing on a summer festival of arts and having a home in Rouses Point, it seemed quite elementary to create an event that would integrate arts and the community. It continues to grow with the enthusiasm of our local community whom we love. SUMMERDANCE has garnered consistent interest, with dance and art enthusiasts welcomes its return year after year, said the organizers. We had no idea it would be so well-received the first year, though we knew the area didnt have this kind of event and there was certainly a need," said Gleich. This years event will officially kick off with an open house at Norte Maars Rouses Point location at 20 Pratt St., Thursday, July 31. The open house will feature two art exhibitions Country Mouse/City Mouse, which pairs artists from the North Country with those of New York City, and In the Tradition of the Ballet Russe, an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia celebrating the centennial of Diaghilevs famed Ballet Russe. SUMMERDANCE will also include something the two call Off-Set, which is a dance performance in a non-traditional location. Last year, Off-Set was held at the village train station and, in the past, has even included settings such as the front entrance to Wal-Mart in Plattsburgh, adjacent to riding lawn mowers on display. This year, Off-Set will happen on the same evening as the open house, at the Montgomery Street Pier, which Gleich calls one of the most spectacular locations on Lake Champlain. The pi_ de r_stance will be Fete de Danse Thursday, August 14 presented in collaboration with the Rouses Point Historical Society. The site of that event is also non-traditional, held at the rink of the Rouses Point Civic Center on Lake Street. Gleich, who dances in London and New York City, will provide the featured performance. Other invited guests will also perform on the mixed bill, which will include what is called the grande march, when performers and the audience unite on stage. After all, where would we be without our supportive and passionate audience, Andrew asked rhetorically. Many events will circulate around Fete de Danse, such as a children's day at the stage, where local daycare children share the stage with professional dancers. Altogether, the events will offer a rich and varied experience for those who witness it, said Andrew. We love it here and hope that the joy we get being here is shared with the people who live here, the people who help make it possible, said Andrew. The community comes together and we try to bring an experience that is memorable, that primarily celebrates the community. For more information about SUMMERDANCE:RP08, contact Andrew at 314-1516 or visit Norte Maars Web site at www.nortemaar.org.