Boy with Down syndrome performs in Cincinnati Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

CINCINNATI, OH (WCMH) – A seven-year-old boy in Cincinnati is proving that Down syndrome won’t slow him down.

Jack Barlow is appearing on stage in the Cincinnati Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker.’

Jack is a part of the ‘Ballet Moves’ program, a partnership between the Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In this production, Jack plays Party Boy Number One, WCPO reports.

“It’s just absolutely beautiful,” said Jack’s mother, Ashley Barlow, as Jack got in his final stretches on opening night.

Julie Sunderland with the Cincinnati Ballet says the program makes perfect sense for the ballet. “I didn’t have too many reservations about what’s going on- because I feel like dance is a universal connector.”

Jack is the first in the program to ever perform on the Nutcracker’s big stage.

Ashley Barlow said the idea to start dancing in the Nutcracker started as a joke. “I said ‘Oh Julie, I think we are going to homeschool and I think we are going to move to Russia so we can concentrate on ballet.’ Julie said, in jest, ‘Well I think Jack should be in the Nutcracker!'”

She hopes the performance will be eye-opening for the audience.

“It is such a wonderful celebration of ability, focusing on what a child can do on what people can do,” said Ashley. “He is Jack Barlow in the Nutcracker. He is nervous just like any other kid. He knows his part just like any other kid. He is going to do his best just like any other kid.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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