FORT MILL — Bailey Greemon won’t make either of the family beach trips this summer, but she’ll still get in plenty of sibling revelry.
Greemon, 11, will tour five cities this summer in a Debbie Allen production, “Brothers of the Knight.” Greemon’s grandmother drove her to Charlotte for an April audition as an ensemble member, where the now finished fifth-grader at Fort Mill Elementary School hoped for a background role.
“We thought we were going to be just in the Charlotte shows,” said mom Jen, who will chaperone the two-month tour from Los Angeles to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., before finishing at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte.
Allen asked Bailey Greemon to stay and dance for a sister role. A dozen brothers and as many sisters tour all the cities. Bailey and Jen left Friday for training ahead of the June 19 West Coast debut.
“This is like the first big thing I’ve really done,” Bailey said.
Bailey sings, acts and dances. She performs with Eddie Mabry Talent in Fort Mill and spends more than six hours a week dancing. Bailey, who had to miss the last few days of elementary school, was more concerned she might miss a Memorial Day weekend recital for “Brothers of the Knight.” She didn’t.
“This is all I want to do,” she said of performing. “I want to do it for a living.”
Bailey almost leaps out of her chair talking about the trip, but says she wouldn’t be able to go without mom. She’ll miss her dad, younger sister Eliza and cat. She’ll miss two annual beach trips. All for a show she hopes will help kickstart a performance career, despite little else she knew of her role before flying out Friday.
“I just know I’m a sister,” Bailey said. “I don’t even know that the sisters even have specific names.”
Allen – winner of a Tony, Golden Globe and Oscar in decades performing and choreographing – came on with “Brothers of the Knight” to raise awareness of public school arts programs by highlighting young performers.
“We have got to find a way to offer this opportunity to our young people,” Allen said. “I’m hoping that this ‘Brothers of the Knight’ production will highlight why there needs to be more arts education in schools.”
Each city has local performers in the roles Bailey hoped she might land. Allen didn’t just want academy all-stars, but students of all sorts.
“I opened this audition to kids who are not just in dance schools,” she said. “To people who simply love to dance.”
Bailey fits that bill. She’s been in dance classes for seven years. One of her life goals is to “dance in front of a room full of famous people.”
“I want to get recognized,” Bailey said.
Working with Allen is an unexpected opportunity, Jen Greemon said. But one that certainly should help her daughter’s recognition.
“If you want a name on a resume – singing, acting, dancing – she’s the one,” she said.
The family understands their time apart this summer could just be a start. There always is the chance someone else notices Bailey, or that the show heads to Broadway. For the family, it’s a goal. They plan to have Bailey start at Banks Trail Middle School in the fall, but won’t rule out lifestyle changes should a big break come.
“We’re going to see what happens,” Jen said. “If something big came along, this is her dream and we wouldn’t want to deprive her of that.”
For now, Bailey will focus on living out the best back-from-summer-break story for the fall. And seeing the Hollywood sign. And figuring out how to appear on “American Idol” or “So You Think You Can Dance” – maybe both.
“I’m really just thrilled for the experience,” Bailey said. “This is what I want to do.”
John Marks • 803-831-8166