As 2015 draws to a close, I’m finishing up my #thankfulthursdays theme. The focus today is on our younger daughter whose determination and ambition have provided us a good deal of entertainment.
As a young child, her interest in gymnastics took us into a whole, new world of competition. That’s different from when you’re just taking classes. Like 8 to 12 every day during the summer and several hours every night during the school year.
Those early years morphed into lots of dance classes after Laura decided that what she liked best in gymnastics was the floor exercises. If you’re the parent of a girl, you, too, probably have more than one cassette recording of dance recitals and talent show performances.
As a sophomore, Laura had a role in a high school musical. Afterwards, she told me the sound of the applause was so amazing, she wanted to experience that again and again. She began to consider a performing career. In all honesty, I probably encouraged that. I remember chatting in the car with her one time and saying, “Well, you don’t want to get to be 35 and wonder what if.”
Generally, that’s good advice. If you think you want to pursue something, even if the odds are against you, you should go for it. If you don’t try, you for sure won’t make it.
So then began the search for a college that would offer her what she wanted. NYC was considered, but at the time was $27 K a year. (I’m sure it’s twice that now.) So after several visits and checking with people who’d attended, she chose Oklahoma City University, a school associated with the Methodist Church, much smaller than SMU and way less expensive. She chose it because the graduates from their dance program went on to get jobs in the real world. They didn’t go on to get a higher degree, which was the focus of some programs. Fine for others, but not what Laura wanted. After an arduous audition process, she was accepted.
Four years and many performances later, Laura graduated from OKC with a degree in dance performance. The summer after her sophomore year, she got a job working with the Galveston Summer Musical Theatre.
Blue Fairy in Pinochio
She worked for them for three summers, during which we drove down to see a performance of each of the four productions they put on each summer. Fortunately, we like Galveston. 🙂
Glamour shot in costume with friend in Galveston.
Then it was on to NYC where she took acting and dancing lessons and continued with the auditioning process. For those of you out there who are authors, this is similar to our submission process. We send our babies out to agents, editors, and publishers hoping our work will fit what they’re looking for. It hurts when we’re rejected. Same goes for performers. It strikes me that seldom is the rejection because the person isn’t talented enough. It’s because they’re not the right size—too short, too tall, too heavy, too thin, look to ordinary, look too odd. The reasons are endless. Sometimes, like with our books the quality is missing, but most of the time it’s just that the performer or our books just don’t fit what “they” are looking for. Still the rejection hurts.
It takes a lot of gumption to keep on keeping on. And then, you need a lot of luck to be the right person in the right place with the right talent.
Laura’s wonderful husband (who gave up his job for hers & is an awesome father) purposed to her on the stage in Galveston after a show—how cool is that!
Galveston Pre-show. Laura on the right.
They traveled together for three years doing bus and truck shows. Laura frequently served as the dance captain, making sure the movements were clean and sharp. Even in middle school, she was the one who looked at the girls’ movements and see how to make them be better and more together. The tours took them to 48 of our 50 states, only excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Bob and I traveled a few places to see her, but mostly kept up with them through pins on a map of the US. It made us really proud to hear the good things her co-workers said about her. Twice she performed with the Radio City Musical Hall Rocketts in Nashville and Tampa as dance captain for the ensemble. At 5’4”, she wasn’t tall enough to be in the kick line. Just the breaks of the gene pool.
In Nashville after Christmas with good friends, Gene & Julie Miers, Kevin, Laura, me, and Bob.
While living in NYC, Laura worked part time at Re:AB Pilates Studio and found the joy of that program. Ultimately she took training there to become certified as a classical Pilates instructor. She lived in NYC while her husband lived in Fort Worth with us. He worked for a time with the Granbury Musical Theatre doing marketing for them. Laura worked as a choreographer for them, too. Fun times and gave me ideas for one of my books.
Going to see her perform in Oklahoma at the Bass Hall in Fort Worth was special for her fan club. For several years, she continued to choreograph for various theatres in the area, but now she focuses on her own studio, Fort Worth Classical Pilates where I get to take classes at the family rate. 🙂
I started this by stating that Laura has provided our family with lots of entertainment over the years. And she has. She’s also modeled determination, perseverance, and a dedication to quality. As such, she’s a great role model for young women and for their precious daughter, who does not seem to lack for self-confidence, announcing as she jumped through the front door of Laura’s new studio with her arms thrown wide, “I’m here!”
Laura & Sarah skating at cousin Lilly’s 5th BD party