Count almost 300 pairs of dancing shoes tapping, whirling, leaping every week, and you'll be in the midst of the dance program of the North Carroll Recreation Council.
The dance program opens spacious new quarters this fall in the North Carroll Shopping Center. The new air-conditioned studio takes the place of a pet shop between the Eastern Chinese Restaurant and the former Ames department store.
"The location is very good, between Hampstead and Manchester," says dance program director Michelle Stricklin. "Parents can drop off their kids for dance and go shopping and to the library." Both are in the immediate vicinity.
The studio will have a three-day open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Aug. 31. New and returning students can register for fall classes.
They will find a new feature: dance wear.
"We're selling a full line of dance supplies as a fund-raiser," Ms. Stricklin said. "It's expensive being in a shopping center, so I gained permission from the rec council to sell supplies to offset the costs."
In a full range of sizes, shoes for ballet, tap and jazz dance, as well as leotards and tights, will be sold for an unlimited time.
The dance program had been housed above the Manchester Fire Company for 11 years. Concern for possible unseen structural damages to the fire hall, plus parking problems, led the fire company to ask the dance program to find a new location.
The new lease for the space in the shopping center runs for five years.
"We're in there working now," Ms. Stricklin said. She had a long list of improvements for turning what was a pet shop into a professional dance studio: Walls were painted, mirrors and ballet barres installed, the half-bath improved.
Most important, a professional dance floor was installed.
"We built a grid of two-by-fours, put plywood on top and a professional dance floor covering over that," Ms. Stricklin said. "With this floor covering, you can hear the tap sounds because we are on a wooden, elevated floor, and the covering won't wear out like other flooring."
The popular dance program is taught by nine instructors, including two for every children's class. Classes meet mornings, evenings, after school and Saturdays, six days each week.
The cost ranges from $12 to $21 per month, based upon the technical level and how long the class meets. Pre-ballet, for instance, is a half-hour; exercise is an hour.
Students in the dance program, ages 4 through adult, learn ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, a strict technical ballet program, vocal musical production, or do step aerobics and jazz exercise.
The annual June recital, presented three times, typically packs the auditorium at North Carroll High School.
Information: Michelle Stricklin, 239-1943.
Home zymurgists, take note. Two weeks ago I wrote about The Zymurgy Shop, a place created for home beer brewers by beermeister Hayes C. Larkins, in the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers' Market.
The good news is that it costs much less than I reported to brew those first two cases of cold ones. Instead of $175 for the start-up equipment and ingredients, it's about $75.
The Zymurgy Shop has of late become known as The Home Brew Shop.
There's a simple reason: Ask your neighbor what "zymurgy" means, and he'll probably not answer "the chemical fermentation of yeast."
But ask at the farmers' market where the "Home Brew Shop" is, and folks know where to point.
Proprietor Larkins is having a homemade beer tasting tonight. Seventeen beer enthusiasts will bring a bottle to introduce, share a small sample and entertain commentary.
"A guess is we'll end up with 10 different beers, probably stout, ale and pilsner," Mr. Larkins said. "It's a fun way to exchange information."
Registration is full for tonight's tasting. But several people have expressed interest in another one, Mr. Larkins said. So he's planning a second tasting, as early as next month.
If you have a home brew to sip and share, give him a call.
Information: Mr. Larkins, 239-8807.
Take a walk tomorrow evening through Hampstead. You'll probably meet 50 others who enjoy striding through fresh air and seeing sights at a walker's pace.
Those dozens of walkers will be volksmarchers -- people who meet to take a walk. Carroll County's walking club is the Piedmont Pacers. Tomorrow evening, anyone can join their 10-kilometer walk -- 6.2 miles -- along a marked route through VTC Hampstead.
The course begins and ends at the Roberts Field Shopping Center on Route 30. The walk should take from an hour and a half to two hours.
Walkers young and old, and those in strollers, can start anytime between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., moving at their own speed to finish the marked route by 9 p.m. Take a flashlight.
Information: Mary Ruth Lippy, 374-9258.