Youngsters Lily Straughan and Joseph Chow enjoy VIP day after wowing audience on BBC show ‘The Greatest Dancer’

Two Sunderland youngsters who wowed audiences on BBC show The Greatest Dancer have enjoyed VIP treatment in their home city.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:17 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:50 am
Lily, 11, and eight-year-old Joseph, who both train at The Worx – Dance Theatre Arts in Sunderland city centre, brought the judges to tears during their first audition

Lily Straughan, 11 and Joseph Chow, eight, stunned audiences across the country with their moving performance on the BBC television show Greatest Dancer, which aired on Saturday, January 4.

Since, the show aired Lily and Joseph have shot to local fame and on Thursday, January 16 were invited to meet Mayor of Sunderland, Coun David Snowdon, and Mayoress, Coun Dianne Snowdon, to congratulate them on their successful audition.

The pair, who train at The Worx – Dance Theatre Arts, attended with their families to enjoy an after school snack and a chat with the Mayor and Mayoress.

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The Mayor of Sunderland Cllr David Snowdon met with young dancers Lily Straughan and Joseph Chow to congratulate them on their successful audition for BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer

The Mayor said: “It’s fantastic to see Lily and Joseph achieve success in a national competition. Cheryl loved what they did and the audience did too as they’ve already had so much support.

“I wish them all the best for the live shows and hope everyone in the North East can get behind them and vote!”

Lily, a Fulwell Junior School pupil, and Joseph, who attends St Matthew’s RC Primary in Jarrow, have been dancing together since April 2019.

Joseph’s mother, Natasha Chow, 43, said: “He just loves it. He eat, sleeps and breaths it.”

BBC One's The Greatest Dancer pair Lilly Straughan, 10 and Joseph Chow, 8 visit Sunderland Mayor's Parlour

Joseph started as a gymnast, and taught himself by watching YouTube videos, Natasha added: “We took him to football a few times, his dad is a huge football fan and we thought he’d be in to that but he’d be doing cartwheels on the sideline.”

His sister, Georgia, six who has been dancing since she was three inspired Joseph to try dance, after she started to win awards.

Natasha said: “He met Lily right away and she made him feel so comfortable.

“I’m so overwhelmed, I never expected this to happen.

“It’s amazing for Sunderland as a city for two young kids to represent and it’s great for the dance school, they’re really supportive.

“I’m super proud.”

Lily’s mother, Karen Straughan, 47, said: “Lily started to dance basically because of a friend from school, it started as a hobby but she’s never looked back.

“I was over the moon when they got through, they work so hard.

“It was so overwhelming. We’ve had so much support but I think that’s the great thing about the North East we rally behind everybody.”

Lily and Joseph say they are not too nervous, just excited about the next stage of the competition.

Lily said: “We finish school and then go to rehearse, sometimes for three hours. It’s a lot of hard work but we’re really excited!”

Karen has confirmed that both Lily and Joseph will continue going to school throughout the competition and will rehearse on an evening, she said: “School comes first.”

Their routine wowed captains Cheryl and Oti Mabuse and secured them a place in the programme’s live shows which launch on Saturday, February 1.