Five days a week, you'll find Annie Lindsay in this classroom, here at Ramsay High School. She directs her students through warm-ups and is teaching them the fine art of dance.
Dance Teacher, Annie Lindsay said, "I enjoy what I do, I enjoy the kids, I enjoy talking to them, at least fussing at them, have to fuss at them so much but, it's a job."
Lindsay has been experiencing this joy, for 42 years at Ramsay and for 55 years in the Birmingham city School District.
Lindsay said, "I attribute everything to the love of God, God loves me so much that he allows me at 81 to come in here and do what I'm doing."
When Lindsay first started teaching, she taught PE. She took her first dance class when she was 36 years old and she never looked back. Growing up, she said, there wasn't a place for blacks to learn to dance.
Lindsay said, "I basically taught myself, but I've gone to UAB, I've gone to Montevallo, I've taken many many workshops, I've taken workshops at Alvin Ailey."
Students past and present appreciate her work ethic.
Senior, Darius Marshall said, “Ms. Lindsay is a determined teacher with a vision. When she has a vision about a project like ‘The Casino’, she has a vision that she wants to bring out so, she pushes us until we can get it across."
Former Student, Erich McMillan-McCall said, "She taught me the joy of movement, the joy of creating through your body and with your body."
McMillan-McCall, is now a Broadway actor/producer in New York, founder of Project1voice, a nationwide effort to bring attention to African-american writers. Students like McMillan-McCall also appreciate what she's taught them, beyond dance moves in the classroom.
McMillan-McCall said, "She made me want to go the extra, extra mile, to go that extra 10 feet that you think you cannot reach but she someone how motivated me to reach those places that you didn't think you'd be able to reach."
Senior, Rikki Williams said, "Being a great leader, the leader that I am today is because of her, so she has taught me a lot, like how to be more of a lady, she's, manners poise"
Even today, Lindsay tells her students dancing gives them the opportunity to express what's inside, to work through anger, happiness, joy, love and to remind them, they're special. Former students like McMillan-McCall have returned to tell her just that.
McMillan-McCall said, "Ms. Lindsay's definitely one those people who paved the way for so many of us to become the people that we are today."
Whether they continue with dance or not, Lindsay hopes these students take the idea that *they're important* with them on their journey through life.
Lindsay said, "I want them to be able to face themselves, that's the main thing. I want them to be able to look in the mirror and say I'm beautiful."
…equal to the beauty they have inside them...