Auditions ahead of the Rio 2016 ceremonies have begun ©IOC

Auditions to find dancers for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics have begun in the Brazilian city.

Hundreds of people took part on the opening day at the National Institute for Education of the Deaf in the Laranjeiras neighbourhood, with those involved hoping to secure roles in the showpiece occasions.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics will take place on August 5 and 21 respectively, with the Paralympic equivalents set for September 7 and 18.

All four will take place in Rio's famous Maracanã Stadium, with organisers keen to put particular emphasis on Brazil's carnival culture.

A celebration of the country's cultural diversity is planned, and there is said to be room for dancers of all shapes, sizes and ages.

American event director Steve Boyd, who has worked at 13 consecutive Olympics, is leading the selection process for the Rio 2016 ceremonies along with Britain's Bryn Walters, a choreographer who has been involved at four Games.

“Everybody arrived thinking they had to dance well, but we’re not looking for perfect ballerinas,” said Boyd.

The audition process is set to continue throughout this month and into December, with thousands set to be successful.

"On my way here I was really anxious," said Agatha Cordeiro, one of those auditioning from Nova Iguacu, a town on Rio's outskirts.

"I couldn’t stop worrying about how it was going to be, but once I arrived and saw that there were all kinds of different people, I relaxed."

Those interested in auditioning for the ceremonies can join the waiting list by clicking here.

In September, it was revealed that the budget for the Olympic Opening Ceremony will be just 10 per cent of that allocated ahead of the London 2012 Games.

However, Rio 2016 ceremonies director Leonardo Caetano pledged that the ceremony would still have "originality". 

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