by Anne Blue, photography by Phil Grout
WHO: Even as a young child growing up in Westminster, Medora Lynn was always moving. She still remembers the library book her mother brought home, all about ballet dancing. Her love of ballet began as she danced around her house copying the pictures in the book.
She started taking ballet lessons at age five. By the time she reached high school, Medora’s mother had to obtain special permission from the school superintendent for her to get out of school early twice a week to take more advanced ballet classes at Peabody in Baltimore, our region’s premier school for young artists.
“I give my mother lots of credit,” said Lynn, “for helping to make my ballet dreams come true.”
When she married a career Navy man in her early 20’s, Cecchetti-certified Lynn moved with him to postings in the United States and around the world. She turned these assignments into opportunities for herself, studying ballet wherever she found great teachers, and launching her own teaching career by instructing children in ballet at the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
WHAT: When her husband was stationed in Ottawa, Canada, Lynn began studying the Cecchetti method, considered by many to be the standard for teaching classical ballet. She undertook the challenge of becoming a Cecchetti certified ballet teacher and over many years of study, Lynn attained six of the seven levels of accreditation, which require competency exams at each level.
Lynn and her husband and two sons, Mark and Scot, returned to Westminster in the early 1970s and while raising her sons, she continued to share her love for ballet by teaching in the Westminster area.
“I always had such a deep interest in ballet and I wanted my own dance school,” explained Lynn.
So Lynn made another of her dreams come true when she purchased and renovated a former dry cleaning business on Hersh Avenue and opened her own studio, The Ballet Slipper, in 1974.
Since then she has been teaching children and adults the techniques and joys of ballet in her own studio.
“Ballet is a beautiful art; it is so involved,” explained Lynn. “I believe it is the basis of all dance forms and should be taught first, before other forms of dance.”
“My goals for my students are to develop their enjoyment of ballet, their confidence, and their perseverance,” said Lynn, her face lighting up when she talks about her students.
“I enjoy seeing a sense of accomplishment on a dancer’s face,” explained Lynn. “Ballet is a great confidence builder and I love seeing the joy in my students’ faces.”
WOW: Decades after she started her dance school, Medora Lynn still fills ballet classes four days a week with children, teen, and adult dancers with skill levels from beginner through advanced.
Long after most of us would permanently shelve our dancing shoes, Lynn continues to do what has come naturally to her all her life: she teaches ballet.
She still dresses in leotard and tights for each class and comes mentally prepared after listening to the music, writing down sequences of dance steps and a lesson plan for each class. Perhaps her only concession to age is having an older, accomplished student help her demonstrate the proper ballet movements.