Budding Billy Elliots and potential prima ballerinas twirled on the Empire stage in a bid to star in Swan Lake.
More than 200 young hopefuls attended auditions held by the English Youth Ballet (EYB) in a bid to unearth future stars of the stage.
The dancers (aged eight – 18) took part in two auditions to join the company for a professional production of the ballet Swan Lake, which pirouettes into the Empire from June 16-17 for three performances.
Janet Lewis MBE, director of English Youth Ballet said: “I am very pleased that English Youth Ballet is returning to the North East to audition for Swan Lake – our most dramatic ballet.
“I’m looking for dancers who clearly enjoy their dancing. The audition is not all about getting the steps right. We look for dancers with personality and a positive approach. It is most rewarding to see the potential in the young dancers.”
The first young dancer through the doors to audition was Niamh Dunne, 12, who attends St Robert of Newminster School, Washington.
Niamh who dances at Zazz, in Houghton, was successful at audition stage with English Youth Ballet last August for the production of Giselle which was presented in Newcastle.
Niamh said: “I am quite nervous. I do lots of dancing and ballet is my favourite, it is so graceful. I dance three times a week and also on a Sunday in preparation for a performance at Disneyland Paris.”
The young dancers selected at audition will take part in an intensive and rigorous rehearsal schedule for the production. They will rehearse for ten days at weekends and after school.
The cast are coached by EYB’s eight international principal dancers who also dance the leading roles in the performances and the young dancers get a unique insight into the life of a professional ballet dancer.
•Tickets for performances from June 16-17 are available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022 or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland