SYKESVILLE — When most people think of Lloyd R. Helt Jr., they think of the man with the cats in the window of his attorneys' office, and of course, the South Carroll town's mayor.
But after this weekend, Hizzoner issure to have an all-new claim to fame -- that of Lloyd Helt, jitterbug dancer.
Yes, the mayor will spend his weekend performing in the Carroll County Dance Center's Dance Recital at 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the North Carroll High School auditorium, 3801 Hampstead-Mexico Road.
For his part, Helt -- attired in straw hat, red Costa Rican shirt and shorts -- and his instructor, Gail Malchester of Baltimore, will dance the jitterbug to the Beach Boys' "Help Me Rhonda."
"One part I'm worried about is when I'm supposed to catch Gail as she falls back toward me," the mayor confessed. "And we kick -- I've already kicked her in the shins."
There's more. Helt also plays the king in a ballet version of the third act of "Sleeping Beauty," although he admitted he doesn't do any real ballet, just a few steps.
"It's a real big deal," he said. "I'll be dressed like a king with a crown and robe and tunic and I'll have my queen."
Obviously excitedabout his new talent, Helt explained he has been taking ballroom dance lessons since last November through the center, which just opened at 7564 Main St. in September.
"It's a one-on-one thing," Helt said. "I was under a lot of pressure to do this because Ruth is such a good dancer, and a good golfer, so I'm learning that, too."
Malchester is teaching Helt the five basic ballroom steps -- swing, waltz, cha cha, rumba and foxtrot -- plus some modern steps so he can dance with wife Ruth, he added.
"My mother and the whole family is just flabbergasted," Helt said with a laugh. "When I was growing up I didn't dance, living in the country and being a preacher's kid."
And how is the mayor doing in his lessons?
"He's doing real well, all things considered," Malchester said. "Not only did he have to learn to dance, he had to learn it was OK for him to dance."
In addition tothe mayor, the two-hour show will feature a majority of the center's250 students strutting their stuff in ballet, jazz and tap, said center owner Sandra Woods, a professional ballet dancer.
"We'll also have a guest artist, Heather Perry, from the Washington Ballet," Woods said. "This may be the first time anyone from the Washington Ballethas appeared in Carroll County."
Another feature will be a segment from "Rodeo," with music by Aaron Copeland, Woods added. The students will offer their own interpretations of jazz and tap dances to a variety of songs ranging from jazz to rock.
While all concerned arelooking forward to the show, one student in particular already has abad case of butterflies in the stomach.
"I'm more nervous about this than when I spoke at the White House in 1985," Helt said.
The show is open to the public. Tickets are $3 per person and available at the door or through the center at 795-3255.