News: BBC Young Dancer - coming soon

Thursday 2 October 2014 by Carmel Smith

BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015

The BBC has run the Young Musician of the year competition for over 30 years and now they are preparing to turn the spotlight on dance with the launch of the first ever BBC Young Dancer 2015.

There are four categories in this first year of the competition – Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop and South Asian Dance and young dancers (aged between 16 and 20) from across the UK are invited to submit their entries to take part now (closing date, 1 November).

The BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall, who was Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House for 12 years and is a passionate advocate for the arts, said today: “There are many tremendously talented young people in our country just looking for a chance – and a platform – to show what they can do. That’s why the BBC is working with top names in dance to develop a programme that will not only find the young dance performers of the future, but give them a real break at the very start of their professional careers, and the opportunity to perform in front of the leading experts in their field. With broadcasts of the Category Finals on BBC Four, the Grand Final live on BBC Two and special programming on BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and Asian Network, we aim to expose as wide an audience as possible to the wealth of dance talent developing in the UK. I’ve always believed dance matters and this is the BBC inspiring the next generation of talent”.

In this first year, entries are open to performers in four categories: Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop and South Asian Dance, with the winners from each category (and two wild card places) earning a position in the Grand Final (at Sadler’s Wells in London), on Saturday 9 May, which will be televised live on BBC Two.

In the lead up to the Grand Final, the four Category Finals will be broadcast on BBC Four, following the five semi-finalists in each category as they focus and prepare themselves to compete for the title of Category Winner. All of the Category Finalists will receive one-to-one mentoring from some of the UK’s leading dance experts and practitioners – a panel of over forty have already been recruited. The First Category Judges were announced today: David Nixon (Artistic Director,Northern Ballet), Seeta Patel (independent dance artist and practitioner in the classical South Asian dance form of Bharatanatyam), DJ Renegade (hip hop artist) and Sharon Watson (Artistic Director, Phoenix Dance Theatre). Further names will be announced shortly.

The Grand Final will be judged by a leading panel of dance experts: Matthew Bourne (Artistic Director/Founder New Adventures, Choreographer and Director), Akram Khan (Choreographer and dancer) Wayne McGregor (Choreographer/Director), Tamara Rojo (Artistic Director and dancer, English National Ballet), Kenrick Sandy (choreographer/director, Boy Blue Entertainment), and Alistair Spalding (Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells).

For the Grand Final, each of the six selected dancers will work with a young choreographer who will create a new solo piece for them to premiere as part of their performance on the main stage of Sadler’s Wells, alongside a solo from their repertoire and a pas-de-deux or duet. The Grand Final will also feature a new ensemble piece which brings together all of the finalists.

Ballet star Carlos Acosta will be taking on an ambassadorial role for BBC Young Dancer 2015. Speaking at the launch event he acknowledged the importance of taking part in a dance competition early in his career, as did judges Tamara Rojo and Akram Khan. Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Sharon Watson said: “The BBC Young Musician of the Year award has become a prized quality standard; it can only be a good thing for dance to recognised in the same way and for the public to understand the complex technical and artistic requirements of the four styles. BBC Young Dancer can provide a model of excellence for young people across the country to aspire to and encourages a firm foundation for a successful future.”

For more information, including details of how to apply:
bbc.co.uk/youngdancer

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