BALLET dancing has helped an autistic boy come out of his shell – and now he has won a role with the prestigious English Youth Ballet.
Jack Hazzard is appearing with the company in Coppélia tonight and tomorrow at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.
The EYB held auditions for the ballet at the Kings back in June, which saw almost 200 hopeful young dancers try out for a spot in the show. Jack was one of the 56 successful candidates.
The award-winning company has helped many of the UK’s top dancers springboard their training progress and careers into some of the world’s greatest ballet companies.
The nine-year-old has been dancing since he was five and said: ‘I just enjoy everything about ballet, the steps, the clothes, the music and how happy it makes me feel inside.
‘I felt really proud of myself being accepted by the English Youth Ballet and happy because I love the Kings Theatre, and I am excited about dancing on stage there.’
His proud mum Dee Hazzard, of Gosport, is also Jack’s registered carer. She credits his dance teacher Dorothy Temple with helping inspire him, and added: ‘Ballet inspires Jack because it makes him feel amazing, he knows it’s something he is good at. He loves the music, the way his body feels when he moves, the way he looks when he dances.
‘When Jack was selected for EYB I realised up until that point I had underestimated his dancing ability because of his autism and additional needs. Watching him in the audition made me aware that with the right support and encouragement he could be capable of anything.’
For tickets and more information, go to kingsportsmouth.co.uk