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West End choreographer Lily Howkins was impressed by the standard of local dancers when she held auditions for chorus roles in Sleeping Beauty at Buxton Opera House earlier this year.
Over sixty children between the ages of 9 and 15 turned up to the auditions in June, and the impressive youngsters beat off some intense competition to win places.
“Unlike most pantomime producers, we don’t use children from a single dance school”, explains the pantomime’s producer, writer and director Philip Dart. “By choosing young dancers from a wide area we can achieve a high professional standard, and consequently our juvenile chorus has attracted lots of praise from critics and audiences alike.”
At the first rehearsal weekend in October the girls began to learn routines with other young dancers from across the Midlands. The group of twenty participants has been divided into two teams who will perform on alternate days between 9th and 30th December.
When Sleeping Beauty finally opens these talented young chorus dancers will share the stage with Jessica Revell, best known as ‘Elektra’ in TV’s Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground and James Holmes, who made his name as ‘Clive’ the barman in the popular comedy series Miranda.
Philip Dart is delighted to be able to offer an opportunity for young people to work with professionals: “They learn a lot during the pantomime’s three week run, and parents have reported their children’s confidence and skills have been greatly improved by taking part in the show”.
Sleeping Beauty is here on 9 – 31 December. Tickets are priced at £19.50-£23. Discounts are available. To buy tickets contact Buxton Opera House Box Office, Tel: 01298 72190 or visit: www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk