Young dancer's dream comes true
A young, aspiring ballet dancer's wish comes true with the help of one Southwest Airlines pilot, and a passenger on board his flight who heard the girl's story and decided to help. YNN's Erin Vannella reports.
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COLONIE, N.Y. -- Emily Kasinger's dream weekend begins at Albany International Airport. How the 12-year-old from Missouri actually got here, began on a plane back in March.
"I make the announcement while we're airborne, and I tell the passengers about what my student's essays are about," said Gary Hooyman, Southwest Pilot.
Hooyman is a teach for Southwest Airlines' Adopt a Pilot Program. One of his student's essays that he read aloud during a spring time flight was Emily's, and the right passenger just happened to hear it.
"I was with my daughter, and I used to dance for many years, and she was like, 'Mom, you have to press the call button for that', and I read her essay, and I wrote her an essay back," explained Andrea Spungen, NYC Ballet Gala Co-Chair.
The rest is history. Spungen, a member of SPAC's Action Council and Ballet Gala co-chair worked with Southwest to invite Emily to spend the weekend in Saratoga with the visiting New York City Ballet.
"I was so excited that I get to see professional ballerinas. My dream is to become a professional dancer, and I hope I get to be on broadway someday, and just be in pointe shoes all the time, because I love pointe," said Emily.
Seven years of dancing, inspiring teachers, and a dream to dance at Julliard, have all driven the little ballerina to reach her goals. This she believes, is a lucky step towards the spotlight.
"I think I will get some really good pointers that will help me improve my dancing a lot," Emily said.
"It's pretty cool, I'm proud of her. Whatever she wants to do, she put her heart into it, her mind to it, she can do it," explained Emily's mother, Jerri Kasinger.
Emily, her mom, and her friend, have front row seats to the ballet gala at SPAC on Saturday night.