LITTLE dancers are proving they will never grow up.
Youngsters from The Kathleen Davis Centre, High Street West, will take to the Sunderland Empire stage to perform in this year’s pantomime, Peter Pan, which starts on Thursday.
Thirteen performers from the dance school and college will perform alongside ex-Emmerdale star Tom Lister who played Carl King, and Sarah Jane Buckley, who played Hollyoaks’ crazy Kathy Barnes.
Kathleen said: “It’s just a really brilliant experience for any child to take part in it. They have gone through the audition process and earned their place.
“Five little boys and six little girls, and two principal dancers from the centre will perform.
“It is a privilege for them to be chosen and they are very excited.”
Callum Robson, eight, from Moorside, who goes to Benedict Biscop CE Academy, will be playing fairytale heroine Wendy’s little brother Michael.
“Callum is very excited to learn how to fly,” said Kathleen.
“He is one of two little boys playing Michael, and they will alternate performances.
“We also have six girls and four boys who will be joined by Ricky Lundy and Joseph Lowry from Centre Stage acting school to play the lost boys.”
Kathleen, 58, has choreographed the Empire panto in the past, and has been children’s co-ordinator in previous years.
She added: “It is nice to be involved in the professional dance world through the children.
“It is marvellous to be able to work with the children in a number one theatre, which is what the Sunderland Empire is, especially when some of them have their sights set on the professional dance world.”
Kathleen, an ex-Thornhill pupil from East Herrington, has been dancing since she was seven, having performed on TV, in theatre and cabaret, and opened the Kathleen Davis Centre in 1976.
She said: “We have always been based in High Street, and we call our kids the ‘High Street kids’.
“We try to make all of our performances spectacular for them.
“We have three shows a year at the Sunderland Empire, in the spring, summer and autumn. Our next show will be in March.
“It is all about the children at the end of the day, so we try to make each one of our shows a spectacle for them.”