For most families this Thanksgiving, it was a time for eating and spending time with family. For one Maple Valley girl and her mom, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Kassarah Pollert, 11, and her mom, Brenda Mitchell, went to New York during Thanksgiving week because Kassarah auditioned to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and was chosen.
Kassarah sent a dance audition tape to Camp Broadway, a theatre arts enrichment company. This year, Camp Broadway gave kids of family members with active duty military personnel, veterans, reservists, wounded warriors or fallen heroes from all of the branches of the United States Armed Forces a chance to perform in honor of them and the United States.
Kassarah’s father is on active duty and just returned from Central Asia about three weeks earlier.
Mitchell said her husband was excited he got to be home in time to watch his daughter perform, live, on TV.
She said her husband could not come to New York with Kassarah and herself because the family did not have enough money for everyone to fly.
Camp Broadway selected 125 military kids from all over the United States to dance in the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving.
“I got the email (from Camp Broadway) (and) she was at school, no one was home but me, but of course I was texting everyone ‘Oh my God she got selected, she got selected,’” Mitchell said. “So then I went and made this huge poster that said ‘Congratulations Kassarah’ and put three apples on it, and waited at the bus stop for her that day.”
Mitchell said at first Kassarah was confused but once she understood what the sign meant she said “‘eeeee!’ like a typical girl.”
Once in New York the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Kassarah jumped immediately into rehearsals with the rest of the kids that Sunday for about five hours. According to Mitchell they rehearsed for eight hours for the rest of the days leading up to their performance.
“It (was) really fun, but intense,” Kassarah told her mom.
The Wednesday before the parade, the dancers were able to do a preview show for the parents.
The following day, performers were to meet up at 7 a.m. sharp, so Kassarah and her mom got on the subway at 6 a.m.
When they go off the subway, Mitchell said it was a real “mother and daughter moment” for her because Kassarah expressed just how excited she was to be there and said she could not believe this was happening.
Once the parade began, parents were to go to a “brunch-in” that was set up for the parents to watch their kids perform live on TV.
Mitchell said because of Camp Broadway giving her this experience, Kassarah has memories she will never forget.
Kassarah not only got to dance in the parade live on TV, but she also got to meet Jimmy Fallon, went to a Spongebob on Broadway show, enjoyed shopping with her mom and so much more.
Kassarah said she wasn’t super nervous to perform during the parade.
“It was a big group so I mean like it was kind of nerve-racking at first but it was like really fun once you went into the parade and started walking and dancing,” Kassarah said. “Like we walked and then stopped, they played the music then we danced and my favorite part was dancing in front of everybody on the big star.”
As for their next big life event, Kassarah, Mitchell and their dad/husband will be performing in Miracle on 34 Street this coming Thursday (Nov. 30), which is run through the Tahoma Booster Club and drama department.