Teen in wheelchair performs ballet

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- A mid-Michigan teenager's dreams of becoming a ballerina come true--despite a debilitating disease, she is now performing on stage.

Jordan Goward,15, is ready for the lights and the action.

"I adore being a ballerina. I really like being on stage listening to all the classical music while watching everyone dance and getting able to dance myself," Goward said.

The 10th-grader is living with a rare genetic illness called spinal muscular atrophy.

"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.

But she is not letting her disability stop her from pursuing her passion in ballet.

"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 therapist recommended the Children's Ballet Theater," Goward said.

Children's Ballet Theater is producing the classic ballet "The Nutcracker" featuring children with disabilities giving them a chance to live out their desire to perform.

"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," Goward said.

Jordan has been performing with the theater since she was 7 years old, which gives her and others with disabilities the opportunity to perform in large productions.

Her enrollment at Michigan Connections Academy, an online school, allows her the freedom to dedicate time for ballet practice.

"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.

The Nutcracker is showing Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Holt High School.

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