Class offers middle-schoolers chance to learn dancing, etiquette


October 23, 1997|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S SATURDAY night, you're 12, and you and your girlfriends are pretending not to notice the 12-year-old boys lined up along the other side of the dance floor.

If this brings back memories, then you and I share a long-forgotten teen-age rite of passage: the middle school cotillion.

Many of today's middle- schoolers wouldn't recognize a foxtrot if they tripped over one, so two Severna Park women, Mary Kasper and Bobbie Tichenor, have decided to rectify that sad state of affairs by offering six lessons of ballroom dancing and etiquette.

The series is designed for fifth- through eighth-graders. It will kick off with a get-acquainted dance Nov. 7, followed by dances in November, December and January, and a concluding Valentine dance in February. All will take place from 8 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. at St. Martin's in the Field parish hall on Benfield Road.

"We really need our own dancing school in Severna Park," said Kasper. "Our children, both public and private school kids, don't have a clue how to dance. They'll learn basic patterns on which they can improvise and have lots of fun."

Professional dancer Amy Rink, who graduated from Towson State University with a degree in dance, will instruct the young partygoers. The etiquette lessons will be more subtle, the students blissfully unaware they are learning social skills that will prove useful in later life.

"We'll be having dance contests, refreshments and line dances, as well as creative and fun ways to introduce partners," said Tichenor. "We hope the boys and girls will learn to greet and thank chaperons, form receiving lines, lead and be led in dancing and to serve and be served refreshments."

The organizers believe the series will help parents who want their children to feel confident going to such events as weddings and bar mitzvahs.

The series of six dances is $50, with discounts for more than one per family. A guest fee of $10 will be charged. Chaperones are welcome.

Registration: 410-729-1373 or 410-544-1183.

Wildflower planting

When Rite Aid began constructing its drugstore on Ritchie Highway at Jones Station Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, the Greater Severna Park Council, concerned about environmental issues, negotiated with the company and won a $6,000 mitigation fee to be used at the council's discretion.

At the council's September meeting, Ranger Dave Dionne asked that the $6,000 be used for the B&A Trail Park's Wildflower Meadow Project.

Wildflower planting has begun on 3 acres of park grassland, but the $6,000 would help speed the project to completion -- and help save as much as $12,000 in mowing that won't be needed.

"In 1995, two test areas were planted," said Dionne. "They were a great success. Four more were added in 1996."

Twenty-four sites would be seeded over the next five years, with any remaining funds used to buy ornamental trees.

While $6,000 would only partially fund most county projects, it would totally fund the wildflower project.

With this and the increased beautification of the park in mind, the council approved donating the funds to the wildflower project.

Pub Date: 10/23/97

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