South Shields dancers dazzle judges and millions of ITV viewers on Britain's Got Talent
The Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, based in Frederick Street, put on a show-stopping performance under the name of VA Kidz. It was broadcast on Saturday night.
The 40-strong group, who come from the school’s three North-East bases, are aged between seven and 19. They had two minutes to impress Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alicia Dixon. They certainly succeeded.
Their interpretation of Alice and the White Rabbit, based on the story by Lewis Carroll, earned them a clean sweep of “yes-es” from the famous judges and keeps them in the competition.
Val’s daughter Hollie-Sorelle choreographed the performance, which was also lauded for its stunning costumes.
Incredibly, the show was put together in just two weeks.
Amanda Holden said: “The music was fantastic and I think the costumes were beautiful. The choreography was so lovely. A great audition, well done.”
Among the performers were Ashley Primary School pupil Max Walton, 11, and his sister Saoirse, 14, who attends St Wilfrid’s. Max was a mouse and television viewers could see his emotions after the performance. Saoirse played an “evil tree” with great aplomb.
Another South Shields performer, Emily Baxter, 17, was also part of the troupe. She is soon to study dance full-time in Leicester.
Max said: “It didn’t seem real. It was so amazing to meet all those famous people. It was like a dream come true. I was nervous watching it back in case I had messed up.”
He needn’t have worried. VA Kidz are into the “deliberation stage” and possibly another TV appearance, this time live.
However, Britain’s Got Talent has been seriously disrupted by coronavirus since the performance was recorded in January. Semi-finals are scheduled for transmission in the autumn.
School principal Val Armstrong said: “I’d like to say how proud I am of all of them. It shows the true meaning of a team effort, and that includes the parents and the costume makers.”