Two twinkle-toed young dance stars from Wigan are aiming high after being accepted onto a top talent scheme.
Saffron Taylor and Lillie Cairns, who are taught at KAM Dance Academy on Woodhouse Lane, will be stepping towards success after gaining places at Northern Jazz Associate.
Nine-year-old Lillie, from Spring View, and Saffron, seven, from Bickershaw, wowed the judges to secure their spots on the programme which more than 300 dancers from across the North West applied for.
The duo are some of the youngest performers to have been accepted by the prestigious organisation.
Their achievement is an extremely proud moment for KAM principal Karina Matuszewski and for Lillie and Saffron’s parents who have supported their dance dreams.
Competition for places at Northern Jazz Associate is fierce, with the organisation promises to take gifted and talented youngsters and put them through intense courses to give them the best chance possible of reaching the top.
Saffron’s parents Michelle and Steve Taylor said: “She works incredibly hard and has an amazing work ethic which has helped her open other doors this year in the dance world. Over the last 12 months she has gone from taking a few lessons a week to dancing six days a week most weeks.”
Lillie’s mum and dad Michaela and Anthony Cairns said: “Her dedication to dance and hard work is paying off in lots of areas.
“She is dance crazy and when not at KAM Performing Arts, where she trains six days a week, she is still dancing wherever she may be.
“We are confident this programme will enhance Lillie’s skills, technique and confidence for her to progress further towards her goal of being a professional dancer.”
Both families also thanked Ms Matuszewski for her time and dedication training the young dancers and passing her expertise on.
Ms Matuszewski said: “I am incredibly proud of both Lillie and Saffron, who have both gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months and are an asset to the studio.
“I am excited to see what the next 12 months brings for them.”
Both Lillie and Saffron are familiar faces on the regional arts scene, with the latter treading the boards in a major St Helens pantomime and taking part in North West festivals.
Lillie regularly brings home medals from regional dance contests, where she now performs in the open section as a soloist.
Northern Jazz Associate offers training in jazz technique, commercial dance, body conditioning and lyrical jazz. The programme’s founder Jamie Tindall said he was wowed by the talent of the two young Wiganers.
He said: “They are both beautiful little dancers. I love Saffron’s sass.
“I think the programme will be amazing for them both and will help them immensely. However, they are some of the youngest we have.
“If they are up for the challenge I am happy to offer them both a position.”