The Dart: Reid loves to see students get excited about dancing
Published 12:40 am Monday, May 19, 2014
NATCHEZ — Sharing her passion for dancing and watching her students perform with a similar enthusiasm is the greatest gift Mignon Reid can receive as a teacher.
When The Dart landed on Laurel Avenue Thursday afternoon, Reid was finishing her lunch before getting everything ready for a rehearsal for the second act of “Alice in Wonderland” that’s scheduled to hit the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center June 7 and 8. Serving as the artistic director at Natchez Ballet Academy for her 10th year, the second annual “Alice in Wonderland” means a great deal to Reid, as it’s been her dream to bring the production to Natchez for five years. Seeing it played out on stage by an animated group of students is a dream come true.
“It’s that moment when you see a student get something out of what you’re teaching them that’s most special,” Reid said. “To see the kids so excited, it’s wonderful, especially when you see the 3 and 4 year olds. Every time they say, ‘Look at what I did,’ it makes me want to cry.”
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Reid, 42, began her tango with dancing when she was 3 years old, getting her first dance lessons where she now teaches.
After going to Cathedral High School and earning a degree in dance education at the University of Southern Mississippi, Reid was teaching at a middle school in North Carolina before she received word about an opening at the academy. Reid accepted with caution.
“I was scared to death, because I didn’t know if I would measure up,” Reid said. “The biggest stress was not wanting to fail and let my former teachers down.”
After three to four productions per year for more than a decade, Reid reflects on her journey, elated about getting to share her passion for dancing with today’s youth in her hometown of Natchez.
“I was lucky enough to come back home and keep it going,” Reid said.
Her students showed their appreciation for Reid’s hard work by putting their money together and sending Reid to the DanceLife Teacher Conference last year. They announced it to Reid at the end of a recital in 2013.
“They just brought me on stage, and I cried like a baby, Reid said.
The sound of a newborn crying will soon dominate Reid’s life, as she’s expecting to deliver a baby boy in July. Putting a production together while pregnant has proven strenuous for Reid, but there are no signs of Reid slowing down, even with the anticipated arrival of little Heath Case Jr.