Parents' pride as young performers Lily and Joseph prepare for The Greatest Dancer live shows
It is every parent's dream for their children to find something they love to do.
And for dedicated performers Lily Straughan, 11 and eight-year-old Joseph Chow, dancing is everything.
Their emotional contemporary routine touched the show’s dance captains so much that they were chosen to go straight through to the live rounds, which begin on Saturday, February 1.
And with just a short time left to wait, the duo’s families have spoken of their pride in the young stars and how their day-to-day lives have been taken over by the world of dance.
Lily is from Sunderland and attends Fulwell Junior School and Joseph, from Boldon, goes to St Matthew’s RC Primary in Jarrow.
“It’s absolutely non-stop – it’s gone mad,” said Karen McCormick, mum to Lily and Dylan, 22.
“I can’t explain it – the main thing is the support that everyone has been giving us. It’s out of this world.”
Lily and Joseph were the talk of the North East after their episode aired on Saturday, January 4 – and their training for the next leg of their journey has been relentless.
The Greatest Dancer's live shows will see the young performers tackle a routine based around a different theme each week for as long as they remain in the competition.
Lily, who has danced for three years, partnered with Joseph last April and it was a match made in heaven for the pair, who have never looked back.
“They are both very, very level-headed kids and very humble in what they do,” Karen added.
The mum-of-three said her son was “in awe” of Lily when he began classes at The Worx and was made up when they began dancing together as a team.
Natasha and husband Phil first took Joseph to gymnastics after he showed his flair for cartwheels at the side of pitch at football – which he didn’t really enjoy.
He loved gymnastics, but later became inspired to start dancing due to the success of his sister Georgia, now six, who had been taking classes for years.
His youngest sister Imogen, four, also dances at The Worx.
“[Joseph] was really nervous and he didn’t want to go into the class because it was full of girls, not a lot of boys that do it, but Lily welcomed him with opens arm,” Natasha said.
“It was getting that first class over with, then it took over his life. He said ‘this is what I want’.”
The two budding stars recently met with the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon, and Mayoress, Councillor Dianne Snowdon, to celebrate their success in the competition so far.
And they will start the next chapter of their Greatest Dancer journey next week, as they perform on the first live show under the tutelage of dance captain Cheryl.
The pop star, who found fame with Girls Aloud in 2002 before embarking on a successful solo career, was moved to tears by their fantastic first routine – so much so, that she chose them for her team.
Mum-of-two Karen added: “I will never re-live that moment again. It was the best feeling ever. They are amazing and everybody loved them.”
*Lily and Joseph are next expected to appear on The Greatest Dancer on BBC One on Saturday, February 1.