Dreams Really Can Come True
story by Katrice Williams
Since age three, Kassidy Oswald (Kassie) had dreams of dancing, and she has been following those dreams ever since. Early on, Kassie aspired to one day “get into a college dance program or a dance company.” Interestingly enough, that vision has become a reality, as the
18-year-old Savannah Arts Academy Graduate recently won a performing arts dance scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College, a well-known liberal arts college located in the very heart of New York City.
Only 55 individuals were accepted into the college’s dance department this year out of about 600 total dancers who all went through the same comprehensive audition process. What’s more, Kassie earned an academic scholarship as well. Kassie is, therefore, double-majoring in dance and business. Though dance is her passion, she is still preparing a sound academic foundation. Her business concentration is in Arts and Entertainment Management. Hence, following her dance career, she desires to become a talent agent while owning her own agency. She enjoys the thought of managing other talented dancers and helping them to attain their goals.
Priding itself in “fostering intellectual achievement and personal growth” for its incredibly diverse student body, Marymount Manhattan College is a great fit for Kassie in both the academic and performing arts arenas. Regarding her love for dance, it will allow her to explore all that the world’s stage has to offer. She will train and dance alongside an array of talented students from across the globe. With its esteemed faculty and nearly endless variety of extraordinary internal and external opportunities, Kassie feels that Marymount Manhattan will certainly prepare her to prevail in her future endeavors. She is thrilled about the tremendous opportunity.
“I was really excited when I found out I had gotten accepted to the school.”
As a small child, Kassie always strived to be the best dancer that she could possibly be. With the instruction, guidance and support of her mom Dawn, a skilled and talented dance instructor, Kassie maintained a positive attitude and noteworthy eagerness to consistently excel and flourish. Over the years, she became a well-rounded and outgoing dancer, being proficient in a variety of styles–ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary and hip-hop. She has definitely “done it all.”
Kassie began her school-based dance endeavors at the Ester F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts, which helped her to build onto her skill as a dancer. She later set her sights on Savannah Arts Academy, nationally known for their distinguished academic standards and stellar arts departments. There, Kassie was enrolled in two dance courses each day, allowing her to dance between academic classes. She appreciates all the efforts of her dance teacher, Mr. Jernigan.
Kassie remarks, “I had him all four years. He encouraged me to strive towards my potential and even broadened my scope as a dancer.”
Kassie is grateful for the opportunity to attend Savannah Arts.
She comments, “They have a very rigorous academic program; you have to keep up your grades to stay there. I was looking to gain a lot of knowledge from the teachers, not only from the dance teachers but from the academic teachers too.”
Kassie was glad to have the chance to dance after school at her mom’s dance studio, Coastal Performing Arts Academy. She practiced there for about five additional hours each day after leaving school. She feels so privileged for her mom to have been her dance instructor over all these years. She is truly Kassie’s biggest mentor and source of inspiration.
Kassie declares, “I’ve always looked up to my mom. It’s just really amazing that I was able to have a mother who was also my dance teacher, to see how she keeps this place running just to share her passion and love for dance with all these kids, so they can do the same things that my brother and I have accomplished.” Yes indeed, Kassie’s 11-year-old brother Wyatt also dances; actually, he sings and acts too.
Further, as much as her mom will miss her, Kassie knows that she is “super proud” of her.
She says, “I have grown up in her studio, and I’m going off to college because of the training that I got here in her studio that she has taken her life to build.”
Dawn, herself, has been dancing since she was a young girl. She started teaching dance and doing choreography as a teenager after performing in countless talent competitions. It’s obvious that the apples do not fall far from the tree.
Kassie, too, has done choreography for the younger dancers at Coastal. She has received impressive amounts of recognition over the years at competitions for her choreography.
She declares, “I really like to create dances.”
Kassie enjoys working with all the kids at Coastal. She has worked with all ages and typically works with the younger children over the summer months. Kassie feels good that she can help them to learn and reach their full potential as young dancers, understanding that many of them have the same dreams that she has always had.
She states, “It’s really cool seeing them—they’re most creative at that age.”
Kassie has accumulated a host of achievements over the years. In fact, she was nominated for the Governor’s Honors Program for dance during her sophomore year of high school. Additionally, as a junior, she was hired as the feature dancer for Savannah Theatre in their Broadway on Bull Street show, where she was able to display her talents on many weekends.
Kassie has a sincere love for dance. She persists to maximize her potential and consistently capitalize on her skills. Additionally, Kassie feels that almost anyone can benefit from the freedom, release and expressiveness that dance allows.
She reveals, “I feel like dance is a great outlet for everyone. I’ve always had dance, and I really enjoy sharing that with other people.”
Kassie is immensely thankful for the love shown by her entire family. She feels that, in addition to her mom, her stepdad Kurt Kuster, her dad Kurt Oswald and her brothers have greatly contributed to her reaching her goals. She treasures their support, as it has always been truly priceless to her.
The late Walt Disney once said: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Kassidy Oswald definitely exemplifies that courage. As she continues to follow her dreams, she will go far. Her extraordinary gifts and talents will provide the ammunition she needs along the way. With her passion, hard work and phenomenal amounts of potential, Kassie has a beautiful future in store.