Katrina Cassady finds new opportunities through ballet


From the time junior Katrina Cassady was just a young girl, she knew that dancing would be what she would love the most in the world. Whether she was watching rehearsals for The Nutcracker or performing a ballet dance, Katrina was happiest while dancing.

“I have been dancing pretty much my whole life,” Katrina said. “My mom started me in dance classes when I was four, and that is all I ever did.”

From a young age, Katrina found herself participating in all different styles of dance classes. Whether it was ballet, jazz, or tap, she had a special love for each one, but it wasn’t until the beginning of middle school until Katrina found her favorite style: ballet.

“I still do jazz and contemporary, but it is just not as serious for me,” Katrina said. “I focus mostly on ballet, and I have been doing it for so long that I have just grown attached to it.”

Throughout the past years, ballet has become a very significant part of Katrina’s life. Not only does she work year round, but she also spends her summers all across the country working hard to become a better ballerina.

These summer training programs, also known as summer intensives, can last for many weeks throughout a dancer’s summer. They are able to work on different skills while living in an area that may be unknown to the dancers themselves. Katrina has already spent a few of her summers dancing in areas including Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

“Ballet Chicago was my favorite,” Katrina said. “The dorm we were staying at was a few blocks from the studio, so we walked around the city a lot, and it was really fun kind of living the city life.”

After spending her summer working hard at Ballet Chicago and Indiana University, Katrina auditioned for West Michigan Youth Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker. Even when Katrina was a very young dancer, the role she had always aspired to perform was the Sugar Plum Fairy. This year, Katrina was able to land exactly that role, and she gets to perform the most prestigious role in the entire ballet.

“When I was little we would be sitting on the sides watching rehearsal and watching the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Katrina said. “Everyone would be trying to learn the part.”

After pushing her mind and body, Katrina achieved her goal and began rehearsing the dances for the Sugar Plum Fairy this past August. Although she has yet to set on stage for the performance, Katrina is anxious and excited to display what she has been working on for months on end.

Throughout all of Katrina’s years of dancing, her mom, dance teachers, and older brothers have proved to be her biggest supporters. They are always helping her along the long journey, and they can always be found in the audience cheering her on.

“I have two older brothers, and they always enjoy coming to my performances and watching me,” Katrina said. “My mom and my dance teachers are also my biggest supporters. I’m really close with them, and they are always pushing me to do my best.”

In Katrina’s future, she is unsure of where dancing may take her. High school may be the end of her dancing career, or she may take her skills with her and perform throughout college.

“I want to go to college because schooling is really important to me,” Katrina said. “I might dance in college, but it probably won’t be one of my main focuses.”

For Katrina, dancing is so much more than just an after-school activity. She truly loves to perform in front of an audience and show everyone the amazing art that she is able to create.

“The whole performance part of dancing is my favorite thing,” Katrina said. “Just being on stage is really fun, and it is the best part about it.”