Utahn with disabilities dances across Russia for a good cause

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utahn who was on So You Think You Can Dance in 2008 has recently returned from Russia, where he participated in a program designed to promote friendship and opportunities for people with disabilities.

Brett Banford has Down syndrome, and he is an ambassador with Best Buddies, which is an organization devoted to helping people with disabilities. On Mother’s Day his mom, Guler Banford, said she couldn’t be more proud of her son, who has an outgoing personality to go with his dance talents.

“I’m so proud of him,” she said. “He’s done all of this all on his own, and he’s taught himself how to dance.”

Banford was invited to join the program and travel to Russia, where he performed and taught kids how to dance.

“At a Miami gala he did a little speech and dancing, and the Best Buddies director from Russia noticed Brett’s abilities and invited us,” Guler Banford said.

Brett Banford was popular on So You Think You Can Dance due to his ability to move the crowd with his dance numbers. Brett’s mother said he is happiest while dancing, so the invitation to go to Russia was exciting.

Part of their tour included a stop at an orphanage, and Guler Banford said that stop was especially meaningful.

“They wanted Brett to do a little performance and show them some of his dance moves,” she said. “It was just so rewarding to see their reaction; so happy they were. It was very touching for me to see that.”

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