Shall we dance?
Maybe not. I grew up in a generation who learned to dance listening to songs like "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" and "Peace Train."
When disco became popular we had to learn a few dance steps and more than a few arm movements. It was rather like shuffle, skip, shuffle, slide. One, two, point to the ceiling, three, four, to the floor.
(Now remember, the entire time you're doing this you're looking at a guy wearing a white suit, black polyester shirt and matching tie he bought at the Two Guys Discount store on Ritchie Highway.)
OnceI was married, I assumed I would have a dancing partner for life. Boy, was I ever naive.
For some strange incongruous reason, my Towson-born husband knows only one dance -- the Texas Two-step. Together we have two-stepped our way through songs by the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Olivia Newton John and L. L. Cool J. It's pretty embarrassing.
But there is hope for couples with four left feet.
Martha Henry is once again teaching ballroom dancing through a program sponsored by the county Recreation and Parks Department.
What began 15 years ago with a few dancing lessons has become a teaching career forHenry.
"My husband and I started as an amateur couple at the FredAstaire Dance Studio in Severna Park. Neither of us had lessons before," said Henry, a Glen Burnie Park resident.
"We danced amateur for five years, eventually competing together as an amateur couple andalso with dance teachers as pro-am couples."
Competing as an amateur couple at the Fred Astaire National Cross Country Dance Competition, the Henrys won a gold medal in the 1977 and 1978, and a silver medal in 1979. They have never been defeated in the Baltimore-Washington region.
In 1980, Martha Henry turned professional and taught at the Fred Astaire studio for several years.
"I had to be trained tobe a teacher. I had to learn both the man's and lady's part so I could teach how to lead and how to follow," said Henry.
One evening, while enjoying an evening out dancing at the Elk's Club, a friend noted that the county's recreation and parks program had lost its dance instructor and suggested Henry consider applying for the job.
After meeting with the North County supervisor, Howard Smith, she was offered the position.
"I've been trying to get Howard to take lessonsever since," said Henry, laughing.
"He claims he's a terrible dancer but I've told him that's who needs the lessons."
The ballroom dance program offers instruction at several levels.
"With the beginners, I'll teach two or three steps in five or six dances: the fox trot, waltz, swing, cha-cha, rumba and usually one other dance. The group decides whether it's the tango or the merengue or even the electric slide," Henry said.
The more advanced classes work on the same dances but use more patterns.
At the completion of the 10-week program, Henry brings all four of her classes together for a covered-dish dinner dance.
"This social situation is more realistic than the regular classes. We have all levels of dancers from beginning to advanced. Seeing the more advanced dancers encourages the beginners to continue," said Henry.
Starting with the Jan. 27 classes, Tom Henry will join his wife and they will teach as a team.
"It will be goodto have a man to help the ladies and demonstrate how to lead for themen," said Martha.
Classes in Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Ballroom Dancing are scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 27 at GlenBurnie Senior High and Glendale Elementary Schools.
Beginning classes are scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m, Mondays, starting Jan. 27 at GBSH.
Intermediate I classes are from 8:05 to 9:05 p.m., Mondays starting, Jan. 27 at Glen Burnie High School, 2550 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.
The Intermediate II and Advanced classes meet on Tuesdays, starting Jan. 28 at Glendale Elementary School, 105 Carroll Road.
Classes for the Intermediate II program will meet from 7 to 8 p.m.. Advance classes meet from 8:05 to 9:05 p.m.
There is a $60 fee per couple for each 10-week session. A partner is required.
For registration information, call 222-3600.
The partnership between the community and non-profit organizations was the topic of a speech delivered last night to the Lions Club of Glen Burnie by David French, director of Hope House, a treatment center for alcohol and other drug addiction in Crownsville.
Drastic reductions in funding by the government to non-profit organizations have altered their relationship with community organizations.
Hope House offers residential treatment for 24 male or female adult patients.
The center normally operates at 90 percent capacity.
The cost for treatment at Hope House is based on a flexible sliding scale.
"We think it is important that people pay toward their treatment but we never turn anyone away for lack of money," said French.
In addition to medical evaluations and treatment, patients participate in group therapy based on a 12 step treatment program.