Fort Hood soldier pops the question on stage where girlfriend has been dancing since childhood
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local high school dance instructor got the surprise of her life as her Fort Hood solider fiancé pulled off a proposal with the help of her dance squad and on the same stage she’s danced since elementary school.
Austin Baker, 25, popped the question to the Assistant Director of Midway High School’s Goal Tenders, Madi Minard, 23, surrounded by the Midway Goal Tenders just after their spring performance Friday night.
“Since I knew that she had been involved in dance all her life, I knew I had to include dance in the proposal,” Austin said.
With the help of Madi’s mom, sister and the dance squad, Austin hatched a plan that caught his bride-to-be by total surprise.
Madi had the job of making videos to play on a big screen during the team’s performance Friday.
She stood just to the side of the stage to make sure everything ran smoothly.
The last video she had prepared played and the audience gave the group a standing ovation.
A team captain then got on the microphone and said there was one more video to show.
“I was cheering in the wings super loud. I was so, so proud of the girls and then the captain makes an announcement that we have one more video and I’m over there thinking ‘no we don’t. We don’t have another video. I didn’t make any other videos,’” Madi recalled.
Director Lori Wadsworth then took Madi’s headset off and directed her to the stage.
“I’m like ‘what is going on? What is everyone doing?’ And then pictures of us start going in the little video slideshow he made and I’m like, ‘okay I think I know what’s going on here,’” Madi smiled.
Austin walked out with a sunflower bouquet in hand. As he went down on one knee, the dancers’ cheers and squeals filled the auditorium.
It was a full circle moment for the Midway employee who danced her way through life on the Midway Performing Arts Center’s stage.
She danced there with a studio called Dance By Emily starting in the third grade.
In high school, she was a member of the Goal Tenders team all four years, serving as an officer her junior and senior year.
Madi went on to be a part of the Kilgore College Rangerettes.
In 2017, she began doing choreography for the Goal Tenders. In 2020, she accepted an internship with the squad and, in the fall of 2021, Madi accepted her full-time job.
Austin said Madi, whom he met on a double date with friends, has always had a passion for dance so he wanted to incorporate it into their big moment.
“I had danced on that stage since I was in 3rd grade. From 3rd grade to my senior year of high school and then being back directing the Goal Tenders on that stage had already been super special,” Madi said. “So, it was so sweet being on that stage and getting to say yes to the love of my life.”
The couple plans to marry in May of 2023.
They will likely live somewhere between Fort Hood and Waco so Austin can continue his service while Madi holds down what she calls “her dream job.”
Madi says, no surprise, she’s already got big ideas for a choreographed first dance.
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