Lindsay Hyson was so looking forward to The Nutcracker. She was gushing when I asked her about it.
“Oh, my gosh, yes. I’ve done The Nutracker four times, and I’ve loved every one,” said Hyson, the Snow Queen in the Progressions Repertory Dance Company and Old Dominion Performance Arts Studio production of the classic ballet.
I was down the street at Old Dominion Studio a couple of weeks ago to help tell Waynesboro about the show. The director of the dance company at Old Dominion is Dulcey Fuqua, a high-school classmate of mine who I’d do most anything for, including try to understand ballet, which admittedly is one thing I have absolutely no knowledge of.
I ended up spending an hour at the studio watching the dancers do their thing and meeting with a few of the stars of the upcoming show sent by Dulcey to talk with me on camera for a videocast that we were going to run on The Augusta Free Press.
Lindsay was the first that she sent to me. I don’t know if she could tell that I was a complete novice when it comes to dance, but I do know that she handled me like a seasoned PR pro. My questions were probably among the most inane that she had been subjected to regarding dance, but she wasn’t flustered by that a bit.
Not knowing where to start, I asked her what she liked about The Nutcracker. “It’s a really beautiful dance. I mean, it’s really slow, but it’s got a lot of grace to it. And the costumes are really pretty. It’s all white. It’s a really pretty dance,” she said.
“Grace.” You don’t hear a lot of 14-year-olds use the word “grace” these days. I didn’t know her age when we talked. I assumed her to be a junior or senior in high school. It was only later that I learned how old she was.
We talked a little more for two questions that didn’t make it into the video. She’d been dancing with Progressions for four years, and after having some trouble catching on early on, flourished.
That much was obvious as I stayed afterward to get photos and video of the company in rehearsal. Even among a group of highly talented dancers Lindsay stood out.
I’d heard the news that a teenage pedestrian had been killed in a tragic accident at the Hardee’s downtown on Thursday, but I didn’t make the connection until late Friday night, technically early Saturday morning. I was wrapping up some work around 2 a.m. when I received an e-mail from Dulcey. I assumed at first that she was going to chide me for missing the Friday-night opening of The Nutcracker that I had been scheduled to attend and missed to attend the JMU football game up in Harrisonburg.
“I’m sure you know by now that our Lindsay Hyson died before she got to do The Nutcracker with us,” the e-mail began, and I immediately went to the website to watch the video.
Not the kid who used the word “grace” and was so-o-o-o looking forward to opening night that she could hardly contain herself.
Her name popped up on the video. She was the first dancer featured in the story. That’s her, talking about “grace.” And a really pretty dance that we never got to see.
The Hyson family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Kate Collins Middle School.
A memorial service for Lindsay Hyson will be conducted at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Waynesboro High School auditorium by Dr. Jon Lovelady.
– Column and photos by Chris Graham