Medora Lynn's dance students will offer their blood, sweat and tears so others won't have to.
About 200 students from The Ballet Slipper dance studio will participate in recitals today, tomorrow and Sunday at Westminster High School to benefit the Carroll County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Ms. Lynn, who owns the Westminster dance studio, has organized the benefit program every other year since 1968.
She choreographs the dances and selects the music and costumes. The Red Cross is a special organization to her.
"I just felt it was such a worthwhile organization that helps everyone," Ms. Lynn said. "The last recital raised almost $8,000."
All of the students are given the opportunity to dance at the recitals. They are placed in groupings according to the level they have achieved at the school.
"We practice all year," said Yvonne McConville, 11, a sixth-grader at West Middle School. She has been a student at The Ballet Slipper for eight years.
"I'm really scared I'll mess up," confided 13-year-old Dawn Uttenreitcher.
The dancers perform to classics as well as popular music. There is even a number called "Stars and Stripes," done in the style of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. The twist is that the dancers perform the whole routine on their toes.
"I like dancing because it keeps you physically fit and it's fun," said Christina Orr, a seventh-grader at East Middle School.
"You want to try your hardest to be good because if you are good, people will come and that will raise more money," she said.
Students who participate in the recitals and are still in school will receive credit hours for community service.
"It helps those less fortunate," said 13-year-old Kathryn Booth. "Someday we may need people to help us."
The students are not the only ones who get into the spirit of the show.
"You sit at these recitals and you cry because of what [Ms. Lynn] accomplished with these young ladies," said Anne Townsley of Westminster. Mrs. Townsley's daughter, Beth, 13, has been dancing for 10 years.
Joyce Anderson agreed. Her daughters, Jocelyn, 10, Jennifer, 13, and Christina, 16, are all students of Ms. Lynn. Because of knee surgery, Christina will not dance this year.
"She'll be sitting in the audience envious this year, very envious," Mrs. Anderson said. "I've been involved with other dance programs with the girls, but none of them can top this one."
Students and parents had nothing but praise for Ms. Lynn.
"There's just so much encouraging and nurturing and patience,"
Mrs. Townsley said. "This lady is incredible."
The recitals will be at 7 p.m. today, 6 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $4 for adults and $1.50 for children up to 12 years old and may be purchased at the door. The school is at 1225 Washington Road. Information: 848-2853.