Competition was fierce as hundreds of hopeful models and dancers took to the stage for the World of WearableArt (WOW) open auditions.
Dancers were instructed to "turn, toss, scoop, scoop, break, step, step, jump and swipe" as assistant choreographer Tor Columbus put them through their paces on stage at Wellington's Opera House yesterday.
Backstage manager Leonie Trathen said the contest became fiercer every year, with 250 adults fighting for 40 dance roles and 60 modelling roles, and 200 children contesting 70 spots.
"The amount of interest we get is astronomical - the bigger it gets the more interest we get," she said.
Sixteen spots are reserved for dancers from the New Zealand School of Dance, but up to 70 per cent of chosen performers are veterans who have to audition each year. Many have worked their way up from the children's category, ages 7 to 14.
Performers are selected for their physical chops but also for their affinity for the clothes.
"Every garment has inspiration. We want to find the perfect person to wear each garment - it's got to be someone who not only fits the garment but who also has a passion and love for it just the same as the designer has in making it."
The annual awards show, which runs from late September into early October at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington, features offbeat, intricately fashioned apparel, which can create challenges for models.
"Visibility can be difficult and they're heavy - they're pieces of art," Mrs Trathen said.
World of WearableArt performers must also exhibit stage confidence, camera-awareness and the ability to move well.
Women models in the awards must be at least 1.7 metres tall and men 1.78m.
- The Dominion Post
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