Pilar Lowden has been leading her dancers for years, but this weekend, they got a special opportunity.

"To dance for a living United States President, that's huge! That's something most people, the majority of people, will never be able to say," said Lowden.

Lowden says Carter asked her husband, a pastor at Carter's Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, if the group would perform Sunday.

That was Carter's first day back teaching Sunday School after hip surgery.

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“When I got up this morning and I searched, I Googled 'Hayiya Dance Theater and Jimmy Carter,' the articles flooded in. There are articles all over the world featuring their image now,” said Lowden.

News media from Atlanta to Australia used photos of President Carter with the group.

Zarea Bland says she almost missed the photo because she was caught up in the excitement. Bland leaves for college in the fall. She says it was one of the most memorable performances in her 16-year dance career, and she'd like to thank her dance teacher.

“She's like my second mom,” said Bland.

“To have the people in the audience really appreciate what we did. The looks on their faces were just, it was just amazing. To have President Carter tell us he was proud of us, that's pretty fantastic,” said Lowden.

Lowden still grinning ear to ear. She says she's happy to represent Macon in a positive way.

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