She was one of the few dance teachers left who still taught real, beautiful, true dance. She taught us to appreciate classic music, dance styles and dancers, not by telling us to love it, but by loving it herself and growing us up with it. She put us in classy, tasteful, stunning costumes and never let us perform in anything that made us uncomfortable...again, something I took for granted until I realized that this was an exception for choreographers, not a rule. She taught us how to do our hair so that it was never stringy or hanging in our eyes. She taught us how to do our makeup. She taught us how to look beautiful on stage in a natural way. She was an extremely influential person in my love for theatre and Broadway. I so looked up to the way she watched shows, what she thought about them, how she critiqued them.
I started dancing with Mim later than most kids. Many of those that she had taught had been with her from the time they were about three years old and stayed with her all through high school. But even though I jumped in late, she always treated me like one of her own. To have danced with Mim was to be part of a family, and although I was more like an adopted member, I was taught and loved just the same.
In 2001 she closed her studio. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever gone through, and I didn't even have the connection to it that so many other people did. But Miriam remained one of our greatest supporters and encouragers. She had been a huge source of support during my years as a Summer Theatre Workshop director and even today, she wanted to know all of my stories about working on The Wizard of Oz this past summer. She's even trying to plan a trip to come down here for next summer's show.
Her love for us and her interest in our lives has not withered with time and I'm so thankful I got to spend as much time with her as I did while I was in Marysville last weekend. Few things made me feel more welcomed and at home than when I walked into the restaurant on Thursday afternoon and she threw her arms around me after not having seen me in probably 4 years and said, "It's so good to hold you again!"
People like Miriam Carson are rare and they are priceless.