YOUNGSTERS who dream of appearing on stage have a chance to star in a major production at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, alongside some of the country’s finest dancers.
The English Youth Ballet is holding open auditions on Monday to find 100 girls and boys, aged eight-18, to perform in Sleeping Beauty.
Those selected will attend a three-week training camp in the summer holidays before taking to the stage in August.
The ballet company is run by Janet Lewis MBE, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet.
Miss Lewis is on the look-out for youngsters of all abilities and has pledged to take on the children ‘who will benefit most from the experience, even just in terms of their confidence as a person’.
The 69 year old veteran dancer said: “They really need to show that they have some standards of dancing whatever level they are at.
“For example, at age eight or grade two, when they jump they know to straighten their legs and point.
“It might sound obvious but it is surprising how many don’t know that.
“When they are older they need a certain amount of coordination and a sense of application and an intelligence to pick up the various sequences.
“They also need to present themselves well and a good smile goes along way.”
Parents are invited to watch the auditions, in which all the youngsters are on stage at once learning dance skills.
Participants are also observed taking part in smaller workshops in groups.
Children are each given a number and those chosen are told on the day.
Youngsters who fail to make the grade have the reason explained to them individually.
Those rejected are placed on a reserve list.
Miss Lewis encourages parents to watch the auditions, saying: “It is very unusual and it is always nice to see children from other schools so they can see how their children compare – and also that we are fair.
“It is an extremely good learning experience for the children.
“We are encouraging all along the way and it is very exciting for them.”
The auditions take place at the Waterside Theatre from 4.30pm-6.15pm for children aged 8-11. Teenagers aged 12-18 will be auditioned from 6.45pm-8.30pm.
Parents are advised to pre-register their children, but are able to turn up on the day.