The world of dance is a demanding place to prove oneself, especially with a disability. Yet Jack Summers, a young performer with cerebral palsy, is about to join one of the most famous dance troops in the world…
I’ll admit it. When it comes to dancing, I’m no MJ… or JT for that matter. That’s not to say I shy away from the dance floor. Far from it! But I could never throw the kind of shapes that would worry the likes of Chris Brown or Usher. Or so I thought.
Jack Summers is already an up-and-coming star on the ‘street dance’ scene. Last year he was a winner at the British Street Dance Championships and more recently, he has impressed the star-spotters at ‘Adidas Project 32’, an initiative led by the global sports brand to discover and showcase new talent. In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Jack has been given the chance to perform with ‘Blaze’ the world’s largest hip hop dance troop.
Not bad. Especially as Jack happens to have cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair most of the time. It has not been an easy journey for the young dancer. Summers fell victim to a considerable amount of discrimination at the hands of dance schools who turned him away citing a lack of appropriate facilities. These were among his “worst” experiences, says the young athlete, who started dancing at the age of seven.
Jack’s success makes an impressive story in its own right, but more significant is the shining example he sets for other disabled children who are looking to make their mark in the arts. There are already a number of disabled actors, actresses and comedians who have crafted a career in show business. Sarah Gordy is currently perhaps the most well known British actress with a disability. The young lady who has Down’s syndrome shot to fame having stolen the limelight in the BBC’s ‘Upstairs Downstairs’.
Comedian Laurence Clark, who has cerebral palsy was featured recently in the BBC’s documentary series designed to examine what it means to be disabled in the 21st Century. There is even a celebrity chef with a physical impairment in the form of the award-winning Michael Caines. These people are all wonderful examples of the sort of talent disabled people have to offer and should be regarded as idols for others wishing to achieve the same level of success.
Perhaps what makes Jack Summers triumph even more admirable, is the physical nature of his chosen profession. One only needs to see the star in action to appreciate just how skilful and dedicated this young dancer really is. I must confess I was bewildered to see him throw down such amazing moves! His commitment and determination show that there are very few barriers which can’t be blown away if one really puts one’s mind to it.
He’s even inspired me to be a bit more adventurous on the dance floor. Though for now, I think I’ll leave the tights and leg warmers to the professionals!
To read more about Jack Summers and ‘Adidas Project 32’, please see: