Sunday, December 12, 2010

L'Impianto Cocleare, la Ballerina e la Schiaccianoci

Special to The Star
Gracie Hooks, 9, was born deaf, but Cochlear implants have improved her hearing. This year she’s dancing the part of an angel in the Kansas City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”

The Kansas City Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” always provides plenty of holiday fantasy. But one little angel is giving this year’s production a special magic.

You’d never know it to watch her dancing to Tchaikovsky’s intricate score, but 9-year-old Gracie Hooks, who plays one of the angels, was born deaf.

“She’s profoundly deaf,” said her mother, Lauren Hooks. “But with Cochlear implants, she can hear like someone with a mild hearing impediment.”

Hooks and her husband, who are both full-time ministers at the Kansas City Church of Christ in Lenexa, discovered their daughter was deaf when she was very young.

“She was only 18 months old,” Hooks said. “By the time she was 2, she got her first Cochlear implant. With Cochlear implants, she has a different life than she would have otherwise. It’s allowed her natural talent for dance to come out.”

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