Nearly 300 dancers auditioned yesterday to be part of a summer production at the Pacific National Exhibition — a much-needed opportunity, according to some dancers who say auditions are dwindling.
Elise Melo, who started dance lessons at age nine, blamed the poor economy and government underfunding of the arts for the decline.
“It’s been tougher to find work. There were maybe only half as many auditions this year compared to previous years,” Melo said.
The 22-year-old dance instructor has toured Canada for the last two years with dance companies such as the Source and Groove Street.
She’s now competing for a spot in Kaboom!, a “pyro-musical” dance performance counting down to the PNE’s 100th anniversary in 2010.
Christie Manning, another hopeful, worked as a dancer three summers ago at the PNE and said the competition this year is greater.
“It’s one of the few local paying jobs for dancers available,” she said. “The show is very theatrical, a bit cheesy and takes a lot of energy, but a lot of people want the job.”
The dancers will be performing daily from Aug. 22 to Sept. 7.