TWIRLING youngsters danced to impress in a bid to step under the panto spotlight.
Budding stars from Muriel Harrison, Kathleen Davis and Shameem Karim dance schools skipped about the Sunderland Empire stage as it held auditions for this year’s pantomime.
Successful dancers will be appearing in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs alongside actress Su Pollard, EastEnders star Matt Lapinskas and Balamory’s Andrew Agnew this Christmas.
Casting agents were on the hunt for three teams of eight young dancers and six senior dancers.
Panto producer Martin Dodd, from UK Productions, said he was impressed by the level of talent in Sunderland.
“This is our third panto in a row at Sunderland Empire after panto stopped here for a couple of years and the audiences are always brilliant,” he said.
“They really get into it here and panto is as much about the audience as it is those on stage.”
He added: “We always get some great local dancers here. We could cast senior dancers from outside the area, but we don’t need to as the ones here are so good
“For the young dancers, we pick a team of eight from each school so we can rotate them in the shows. In the audition stage, we look for dance ability, but also character. It’s not just about learning the steps, it’s about the character you project on stage. They’re an important part of the show. They look cute, but they are also part of the ensemble, playing villagers and forest animals.
“It’s a great chance for them to be part of a professional show with professional actors and directors, while playing to an audience that isn’t just their friends and family.”