Chorley dancer's dream moment to be broadcast on primetime TV

DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell celebrates with singer Alexandra Burke in London
DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell celebrates with singer Alexandra Burke in London
Share this article

Dancer Jen Blackwell is set for Lottery stardom after winning the chance to appear on a TV ad break.

And that led to a dream-come-true meeting with singer Alexandra Burke.

Jen’s encounter with the star was captured on film to be aired on ITV primetime TV on Saturday, June 9. She was filmed doing her own specially choreographed dance to the singer’s hit record, Hallelujah.

Jen, who founded dance company DanceSyndrome, said: “I just can’t put into words how I felt. It was just amazing – I was totally lost for words. It was most definitely big hugs all around! I love Alexandra and have always admired her. She is such a fantastic inspiration.

“It has literally been a once in a lifetime experience for me and something I will never, ever forget.”

The chance for the special meeting came after Jen was picked by The National Lottery’s Big Surprise, which honours individuals who have made a real difference with the help of National Lottery funding.

DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell celebrates with singer Alexandra Burke in London

DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell celebrates with singer Alexandra Burke in London

Jen, who has Down’s syndrome, founded her dance troupe in 2009. It trains people with learning disabilities to become dance leaders, with a focus on unlocking their talents. The project operates across Lancashire and Greater Manchester with dance leaders holding classes at community venues.

The Big Surprise is a 90-second weekly slot during the ad break of Saturday night primetime ITV shows - meaning hero Jen is set to get national recognition with around five million people expected to tune in across ITV and STV.

Jen’s performance will air on ITV and STV at 8.15pm during the ad break of the Take Me Out Special and is the second of 17 short films which will be shown throughout the year.

DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell celebrates with singer Alexandra Burke in London

DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell celebrates with singer Alexandra Burke in London