On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, the dancers of Duffy's Irish Dance School in Gaithersburg were busy.
They are in the midst of a series of performances around the county, but Friday they stepped, tapped and clicked their heels for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, then for unsuspecting strangers as a Celtic flash mob at the Washingtonian Center.
Dr. Micah Sickel, a child psychologist at Walter Reed, along with Sara Barrett, co-created the Stages of Healing Performing Arts series at the hospital, which brings in performers like the Irish Dancers.
"The point is to bring the whole base together for a shared experience," he said. "People have given a 100 percent positive response. This is something they want and need."
The performance at Walter Reed at 12:30 in the lobby of the America Building drew a crowd of about 100, including parents, soldiers, doctors and injured veterans.
But that evening in the lobby of the Loews Theatre at the Washingtonian Center, the dancers put on a surprise show.
As movie-goers stood in line to buy tickets, music began playing and all of a sudden a half-dozen green-clad girls began dancing an Irish circle dance in the middle of the lobby.
A Celtic flash mob.