Jack Barlow, a 7-year-old dancer in The Nutcracker

To read on Broadway World website:

7-Year-Old Dancer with Down Syndrome Debuts with Cincinnati Ballet in NUTCRACKER

Jack Barlow

Photo credit: Peter Mueller

Last night, Jack Barlow, a 7-year-old dancer from our « Ballet Moves » program, a collaboration between Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Department of Physical Therapy, had his official Nutcracker debut. He is the first child with Down syndrome to perform in a Cincinnati Ballet production. Cincinnati Ballet’s Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker runs through December 18.

Jack has participated in Cincinnati Ballet’s Ballet Moves program (a class tailored specifically for children with Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy) since its inception four years ago. This year, he and his family expressed interest in possibly being part of our production of The Nutcracker. For months, he has been hard at work rehearsing his role as a Party Boy in Act 1. For select performances, Jack joins the party, shares a dance with one of the other party children, and blows his toy bugle before his grand exit.


Personally, I love what Julie Sunderland, Cincinnati Ballet Director of Education says in this news piece: « Dance is a universal connector…He’s Jack Barlow in the Nutcracker. He is nervous just like any other kid. He knows his part just like any other kid. He’s going to do his best just like any other kid. »

About Ballet Moves: Ballet Moves is special class designed to foster a love of dance and creative expression for dancers with specific needs. Cincinnati Ballet partners with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Department of Physical Therapy to offer Ballet Moves classes for children and young adults with Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. All classes are led by qualified Cincinnati Ballet faculty and are supported by experienced physical therapists. The program aims to improve balance, strength and endurance. as well as the ability to follow direction, concentration and most importantly joy and creative expression!

« Ballet has developed Jack in so many ways, » says his mother, Ashley Barlow. « His confidence, muscle tone, balance, mind-body awareness, and attention span have improved as a result of his Ballet Moves classes. What started as a desire to find a program to improve his quality of movement has now evolved into Jack’s inclusion in this extraordinary Nutcracker production! We are so proud to advocate for inclusion of people with different abilities, and as season ticket holders at Cincinnati Ballet, we are invigorated by its commit to the same thing. »

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