Scores of hopeful young dancers will be showing off their skills in Stevenage on Monday in the hope of winning a prized place in a top-class production at the town’s Gordon Craig Theatre later this year.

English Youth Ballet is auditioning for roles in a full-length production of Sleeping Beauty and 100 young male and female dancers aged eight to 18 will be put through their paces, getting the chance to rehearse with and then dance alongside international professional principal dancers in the production for three performances at the venue in October.

The company is now in its 17th successful year and is one of the largest ballet companies in the UK. At the helm is director Janet Lewis, who enjoyed an illustrious dancing career with the Royal Ballet Company and London Festival Ballet, appearing alongside such greats as Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

It has a core team of eight international principal dancers who have danced in some of the world’s greatest companies including English National Ballet, La Scala and the Boston Ballet, two artistic ballet staff, two wardrobe mistresses and four theatre technicians.

EYB is highly regarded for presenting lavish classical ballets and critics have praised the quality of the beautiful sets and costumes, and it aims to give professional performance experience to young dancers in venues close to where they live.

The young dancers benefit from being coached and mentored by the professional dancers in an 11-day rehearsal period which takes place out of school hours.

Each audition will take the form of a regular ballet class. Dancers have been advised to register for an audition in advance but it is possible to register on the day – arrive 30 minutes early to register. The audition fee is £15 and all dancers participate in a full ballet class on the stage. Parents are invited to watch in the auditorium.

There are two auditions, once for dancers aged eight to 11 from 4.30pm to 6.15pm and a second from 6.45pm to 8.30pm for those aged 12 to 18)

For more information about the ballet company click here