Meet the 7-Year-Old with Down Syndrome Who Just Performed in The Nutcracker

Jack onstage in The Nutcracker (Peter Mueller, courtesy Cincinnati Ballet)

Some dance stories inspire you; some make you grin uncontrollably; some make you a little bit teary. The best do all three. And this is one of the best: Yesterday, 7-year-old Jack Barlow became the first child with Down syndrome to perform in Cincinnati Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

For four years, Jack has been part of the wonderful Ballet Moves program, a collaboration between the Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Children's Hospital that addresses the needs of kids with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. The program includes ballet classes tailored to those children, with a therapist on hand to customize each activity.

As reported by Fort Thomas Matters, Jack became so enthusiastic about ballet that his mom joked to the Cincinnati Ballet director of education about moving to Russia to further his dance training. The director's response? " 'Maybe he should be in The Nutcracker.' "

Fast-forward to last night, when Jack made his debut as Party Boy No. 1. "This is bigger than Jack being in The Nutcracker," his mom told Fort Thomas Matters. "It speaks volumes for inclusion. It speaks volumes for the confidence the Cincinnati Ballet has in people with disabilities. This is a culmination of so many wonderful factors.”

Get to know Jack a little better via WCPO Cincinnati's report, below. Those of you in the Cincinnati area can see Jack onstage with Cincinnati Ballet again at 2 pm this Saturday, December 17. That is, if you can get a seat—we have a feeling it'll be a very, very hot ticket.

Want more Dance Spirit?

Latest Posts


Performers in HBO Max's "Legendary" (Barbara Nitke, courtesy HBO Max)

How to Express Yourself Through Vogue Fem—While Honoring the Community That Created It

"Who are you when you're voguing fem?" asks the choreographer and dancer Omari Wiles, father of the House of Oricci and founder of the dance company Les Ballet Afrik. "What energy is shaping your story?" In voguing, personal expression is the goal, and vogue fem one way to achieve it.

This flamboyant dance form has experienced a recent wave of mainstream visibility, thanks to the critically acclaimed TV drama "Pose," the hit HBO Max's competition show "Legendary" and, now, the proliferation of TikTok videos centered on voguing.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
by Lee Gumbs, courtesy Lew

Sean Lew's New Film is Bound to Leave You Speechless

If you know Sean Lew (and let's be real—you should), you know that he pours his heart and soul into his craft. Born a star, Lew has danced alongside artists like Sia and Janet Jackson, choreographed for names like Justin Bieber and Meghan Trainor, and performed on two seasons on NBC's "World of Dance."

At only 19, Lew's worn more hats than your average human (or even superhuman), and yet he continues to build upon his long list of natural skills—by adding "producer" into the mix. This time around, he's focused on his own passion project. He produced, wrote, directed, choreographed, edited and even stars in his upcoming film II: An Unspoken Narrative, which also features some of our other fave dancers like Kaycee Rice, Zach Venegas and Bailey Sok, just to name a few.

More than just a dance video, and described as his "life's work put into motion," this experimental film fully encapsulates the past four years of Lew's life, depicting an unspoken narrative expressed through dance. There's no dialogue—everything is up for interpretation. Keep reading to get the inside scoop, and be sure to follow Lew at @seanlew as he continues to influence the world with his endless creative ventures.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Emily Roman performs her solo, "Weight of Light" (Break the Floor Media Team, courtesy Roman)

Emily Roman is Your January Cover Model Search Editors' Choice Winner

Congratulations to the January Cover Model Search Editors' Choice video winner, and our first 2022 CMS semi-finalist, Emily Roman! Watch her solo below, and be sure to enter the Cover Model Search here.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search