SHOPPERS AT Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg were treated to a Christmas show by dance students of the mall's Talent Express.
"We enjoy entertaining shoppers," said Terrie England, director of Talent Express. England said her show of 300 students was so large that she broke it into four shows Saturday and three shows Sunday.
England's daughter Holly Belanger assisted with the show by operating the stereo mixer. The mall was filled with proud parents armed with cameras and camcorders.
Many shoppers stopped to watch the dancers, who ranged from 3 to 17 years old. Dressed in colorful costumes, they performed tap, ballet, jazz, acrobatic and Hawaiian dance.
England's students can draw inspiration from photos of her and a biography hanging on the wall at the entrance of her studio.
They describe England as a child who strongly desired to be a dancer since age 3. She began dancing at 12. At 14, she performed at Steel Pier in Atlantic City, N.J., and won every dance contest she entered.
At 16, she was a solo performer for Bob Hope in his famous USO tours that traveled throughout Europe. She later became a Rockette, a dancer at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and she was also a member of the June Taylor Dancers on Jackie Gleason's television show.
England has a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance and a master's degree in education, both from Towson University.
Her career teaching dance and vocal lessons takes her behind the scenes, but England said: "I love my job. There is never a day I don't want to go to work."
Talent Express has been operating for 26 years, five of those in Eldersburg. Dancers perform in shows across the country.
Volunteer of the year
Piney Run Park in Sykesville has named its volunteer of the year. The park on Martz Road relies on many volunteers from April to October to help with programs and festivals, but one volunteer deserved mention, according to park staff.
He is Andy Durdock, 44, of Sykesville.
Durdock answered a small ad in the paper for park volunteers requesting attendance at an orientation session. The park needed people who would be willing to donate their time on weekends. Durdock answered that ad nearly 10 years ago.
He has a degree in biology from Bridgewater College in Virginia and a master's degree from Hood College in environmental science.
Elaine Sweitzer, a naturalist at the park, said Durdock is qualified as a naturalist and is capable of heading park programs.
"He is so good that he can run things at the park if one of the naturalists needs the day off," Sweitzer said.
One of Durdock's main assignments is to run the Lake Study Program, which involves taking natural collections from the lake and surrounding areas and identifying them. Durdock enjoys answering the many questions posed by park visitors and helping them identify species of plants and animals found at the park or in their back yards. "Andy is a good volunteer. He loves being here. It's hard to get people that are so dedicated that you can always count on them to be there," Sweitzer said. "Weekend volunteers are especially hard to find."
Information on volunteering at Piney Run Park: 410-795-6043.
More park news
Piney Run Park is offering a trip to Brookside Gardens from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow.
The trip will leave Piney Run by van to Wheaton for a spectacular half-mile walk through gardens of flower-light displays. Participants will stop for dinner at Olney Ale House. Fees are $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers, and include the tour and transportation.
Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.