A Labor of Love

11 images Created 7 Dec 2014

The Central Ohio Youth Ballet is about family and putting friendship above competition.

The dancers get ready for their homecoming dances together at the studio. They laugh with each other through the good times and are there to support their dance family when things get hard.

So when Madison Weisend was given the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy — the most difficult and demanding role in the ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" — the other dancers celebrated alongside her.

Halfway through the rehearsal season, a sciatic nerve began giving Madison immense pain, and she had to make the difficult decision to give up her role in the production so her injury could heal.

Instead of feeling sorry for herself at home, Madison continued to come to every rehearsal to support her fellow dancers. She helped her understudy learn the routine and helped critique the production's other principal dancer, Taryn Benson.

When artistic directors Robert Cole and Erika Twining Wills needed help, Madison took notes for them and helped create dance routines for the younger chorus girls.

It was bittersweet to watch her friends perform while she stayed on the sidelines. But when things became overwhelming for her, her friends where there to lend a shoulder to cry on.

Although Madison wasn't on stage for the 20th anniversary performance of "The Nutcracker" this weekend, she was in the wings, supporting her dance family any way she could.

With the support of her friends, she's hoping to be back in the spotlight next year.
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