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Dancers with special needs grace stage in 'The Nutcracker'

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Posted at 7:44 AM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 08:44:15-05

KILLEEN, TX — In a land of whimsy and wonder, the story of the Nutcracker is brought to life every year to enchant and charm audiences. This Christmas, a unique performance of the holiday classic brings the story to life in a sold-out performance Sunday.

A non-profit called People Realizing Opportunity, which focuses on inclusion of children with special needs and developmental delays, brings the hallmark holiday story to life for Bell County. This year, 42 dancers with special needs or developmental delays tell the Nutcracker story alongside local ballerinas.

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In the story, Clara’s fantasy world has limitless possibilities. This theme is mirrored in real life through the passion of young dancers performing in this rendition.

“No matter what people think they can’t change kids with disabilities thinking, because we are strong and independent people. Just because we have disabilities doesn’t mean that we’re different and that we’re not human beings,” said Ryleigh Picott, 10.

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It took the group months of practice and dedication. But it is all worth it perfect their performance and let their talent shine.

“It’s all about not just being included but belonging,” said Jesse Lawrence, People Realizing Opportunity, Executive Director.

In tribute to the thousands of dancers who have performed this same ballet in the past, they offer their own special twist, making this christmas tale their own.

“Their not willing to accept any limits that are put onto them and so none of us should either,” said Lawrence.