Teenage ballerina in wheelchair achieves dream of dancing in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker

28 November 2019, 17:20 | Updated: 28 November 2019, 17:34

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

This young classical music enthusiast has realised her dream of becoming a ballerina in spite of living with a debilitating illness...

A Michigan-born teenager, who’s in a wheelchair, has achieved her dream of performing in a ballet.

Jordan Goward, 15, has always wanted to become a dancer.

“I adore being a ballerina,” she told Wilx News. “I really like being on stage listening to all the classical music while watching everyone dance, and getting to dance myself.”

But Jordan has a rare genetic illness called spinal muscular atrophy, that means she’s in a wheelchair.

“Basically, there’s a defect in one of my genes and that gene helps produce muscle. I am wheelchair-bound, and I can’t walk, and I do need help a lot with everyday living,” Goward said.

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Jordan Goward will perform in The Nutcracker this weekend
Jordan Goward will perform in The Nutcracker this weekend. Picture: WILX

When she was seven years old, one of Goward’s therapists came across the Children’s Ballet Theater, who do wonderful work in giving children with disabilities like Jordan the chance to perform on stage.

And she’s been performing with them ever since.

“So, I’ve wanted to be a ballerina since I was about two years old and because of my disability, we were trying to find ways to make that happen and one of my physical therapists recommended the Children’s Ballet Theater,” Goward said.

This Friday and Saturday, Goward will star in their production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at Holt High School, in Michigan.

“I get two small parts. I get to be a maid in the first act and then I am an angel in the second act.

“I know a lot of people doubt those with disabilities. People try and restrict me and say I can’t do certain things, and this is a way to kind of prove that I can do things just not quite in your average way,” Goward said.