Weeds blossom

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012



If Beth Weed is beaming this week, there are two very good reasons.

Her children, Jonathan and Catherine, have leading roles in the Andalusia Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker. While that might be enough to make any mother proud, it’s even more of an accomplishment for the Weed children.

Mrs. Weed first enrolled her twins in a creative movement class when they were 2. They went on the recommendation of their pediatrician.

“In the beginning, we weren’t sure they’d even be walking around,” Mrs. Weed said, misty-eyed at the memory. “Leading roles? No, I never dreamed of that.”

The twins were born 10 weeks early and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Jonathan weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces at birth; Catherine was a full 3 pounds.

“We started in creative movement when we were 2 or 3,” Catherine said. “We started real ballet by the time we were 4 or 5.”

Addy Gantt was their creative movement teacher.

“It’s extra special for me to see them now,” she said Tuesday. “They have just blossomed tremendously, and really learned how to work.”

Gantt said both Jonathan and Catherine are in the dance classes she now teaches at Andalusia Middle School. She remembers teaching Jonathan to jump; now he jumps higher than the basketball players in his school dance class.

As Andalusia Ballet Senior Company Trainees, the two dance every day except Sunday.

How many hours have they spent preparing to be the prince and Clara?

“Countless!” Jonathan said. “It takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth it to see it all come together.”

Neither is a stranger to the production. Catherine has been a party scene girl, an angel and a jester in previous productions. Jonathan had the role of Fritz for about five years, and also has been a jester and the head mouse.

“They have truly grown up with the Andalusia Ballet and being a part of Nutcracker through the years,” founder Meryane Murphy said. “These are main roles in The Nutcracker, and it’s really special that they were both ready for the roles at the same time.”

The twins said they both assumed that Jonathan would one day be the Nutcracker prince, but earning the role of Clara was a dream for Catherine.

“I wanted to be Clara ever since I was a little girl,” she said.

While dancing the role is hard work, she said it’s also fun because it requires some acting.

The twins agreed that it takes lots of stamina for their current roles. Catherine added that it’s important to put your best dance forward, even in class.

“If you try to do your best in every class, you’ll be better in the show,” she said.

While their roles are very different, the twins agreed that they help each other remember things that they need to practice.

“It’s a twin thing,” Catherine said.

In addition to ballet, both Jonathan and Catherine are members of the band. Catherine plays oboe and takes private lessons in Troy on Sundays, and is preparing to audition for All-State in January.

Jonathan plays saxophone and takes private lessons from Johnny Brewer. He also plays tennis.

Mrs. Weed said that her husband, John, also is very supportive.

“I take them to dance every day, he picks them up,” she said. “He’s had to be very supportive.”

The seventh graders also are active in youth activities at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Each would like to become a professional dancer. Catherine’s second career choice is to become an optometrist.

“I would like for everybody to have the chance to see how beautiful the world is,” she said.

Jonathan also would choose medicine second.

“I would choose to be a children’s doctor,” he said.

The twins are the grandchildren of Martha Duggan, John Earl Duggan, Carolyn Weed and Johnny Mac Weed.

Performances are at 7:30 Friday night ($25); 7:30 p.m. Saturday ($12) and 2 p.m. Sunday ($12) at the Dixon Center of the LBW Community College.