Jessica Reid is from Preston and she has mosaic Down’s syndrome. She is the youngest member of the DS Collective team and was only 16 when she joined the charity in 2018 – she has achieved a great deal already though!

Jess came to DanceSyndrome after she and her mum Heidi came across the group at an outreach activity in Preston. Jess loved dance and drama and was already involved with a drama group, but was looking for an opportunity in dance. As she was in her final year at high school, she had chosen to attend Cardinal Newman College in Preston. They work closely with DanceSyndrome, bringing a group to the weekly workshop in Preston and they recommended DanceSyndrome. Jess was looking for a work placement so Heidi approached the DanceSyndrome team to see if she could be accommodated. Jess spent a week attending different DanceSyndrome activities and loved her work experience. She enjoyed it so much that she continued rehearsing with the DS Collective performance team and her talent quickly became obvious. Jess had a natural connection with Dance Leader David Corr and together they have produced a stunning duet piece that received a very positive response and was recently performed as part of the national U.Dance festival in London

Jess and David’s piece was chosen to be included in the regional North West performance event at The Lowry in March 2019. At that event, sixteen performances were delivered by young people under 25 years of age, of all abilities. Of those sixteen, only one was to be chosen to represent the North West in the national festival in London in July. Jess and David’s piece was chosen by the judges to represent the North West and crucially, feedback from the judges was that disability was not even a factor in the decision making process, they competed on a completely equal footing with their peers and they secured the only place at the national festival! This is remarkable progress for Jess in just one year with DanceSyndrome.

When asked about why DanceSyndrome is important to her Jess said “It has helped me a lot with confidence… People should come here because you can make new friends, learn new dance moves and just enjoy it. It’s not always about doing it right… just be yourself and just enjoy it!”

Speaking about her work for the U.Dance Festival Jess said “It’s an exciting time for me because I haven’t done this before. I’m really shocked and surprised actually. It was really fun doing it as well and it felt amazing. I feel amazing to be given this opportunity because it’s really amazing to be a part of this with DanceSyndrome, they’ve expanded me a lot with some moves I’ve learned.”

Jess recognises how much she has grown in such a short time and is proud of her significant achievements!

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