This baby’s absolutely joyful reaction to seeing a ballerina for the first time is charming the internet as much as the dancer clearly enchanted the young girl.
Kiersten Schwendeman and her then-5-month-old daughter had just caught the end of a performance at a children’s festival in Wilmington, Delaware, when they posed for photos with the young ballerina who had just helped teach a dance to an audience of youngsters.
“We took one picture where we were all facing forward and Stella was making a normal, unimpressed face,” Schwendeman told TODAY. “Then, I turned her so she could actually see the ballerina and she just lit up. Her whole face and demeanor changed. She was really excited and she just stared and made direct eye contact.”
Schwendeman’s mom captured a photo of the exchange and her husband, Derek, who missed the event because he was working, later posted the picture on Reddit.
“He said, a lot of times parenting can be really challenging and tiring and stressful, but then you have moments where it just makes it all worth it, and this was one of those moments,” Schwendeman said.
She thinks part of the reason Stella reacted so strongly to the ballerina was because of the age of the dancer, 14-year-old Abigail Cowan.
"Stella really loves people and kids. Any time she sees a child, she tries to talk to them. She can’t say words, but she'll start babbling,” Schwendeman said.
“The ballerina was only 14, so I think part of it was that she was young. She just had that special connection with her," she said. "Then to top it all off, she had a beautiful colored costume, a fancy crown, and she had just seen her dancing on stage. I think it was the combination of all of that that made her have that over-the-top reaction.”
Schwendeman said she sent copies of the photos to Abigail and the two families have exchanged messages since their Sept. 18 meeting.
Abigail, who has been dancing since she was two, said she was just as thrilled as everyone else by Stella's reaction to their meeting.
“You don’t necessarily go off somewhere and have someone do that to you, so it was really cool,” she said.
Abigail's family have invited Stella and her parents to watch her perform at a ballet in December, but is worried
“I hope I thrill her then as much as I did before."