A huge opportunity for some talented young dancers: Auditions held for The Nutcracker

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Hundreds of kids laced up their ballet slippers to compete for a role in a holiday classic. Auditions were held on Sunday, September 14th for The Nutcracker.

For a ballet dancer between the ages of seven and 17, there's no performance more prestigious than The Nutcracker.

Inside the home of the Milwaukee Ballet on Sunday, more than 200 children competed for 150 spots in the show.

Jessie Emma Friend has been in the show before, so she knew what to focus on during Sunday's audition for toy soldier.

"Keeping your legs straight and your arms straight is key, because you're a toy. You don't really bend that much," Friend said.

Friend's mom Julie looked on as her young daughter auditioned.

"I get incredibly nervous. This is just, watching her on stage in a big venue, it gives her confidence. It gives her motivation," Julie Holbrook said.

"They have an opportunity to be on stage with their role models.  They get to perform in beautiful costumes, under the lights on a huge stage," Renee Giswold said.

Before their audition, dancers were measured -- with their height and skill level determining which role they could audition for. They got a number and filed into the studio.

Dancers competed with dozens of other kids.

Reno Redkin was relieved his audition was over.

"I was kind of nervous 'cause I really want to dance in the show," Redkin said.

Redkin and Friend will find out if they've made the show in a couple weeks.

"I think it went pretty well," Friend said.

To be in The Nutcracker, dancers must be students at the Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy. They will rehearse every weekend from October through December.

The show is December 13th through the 27th.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker."