News: BBC Young Dancer - category finalists announced

Wednesday 1 April 2015 by Carmel Smith

The launch of BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler's Wells. From right: Tony Hall, Carlos Acosta, David Nixon, Sharon Watson, DJ Renegade, Matthew Bourne, Alistair Spalding, Seeta Patel, Kenrick Sandy. Photo: Sim Cannety-Clarke, courtesy BBC.

Twenty Category Finalists in the first ever BBC Young Dancer competition have been announced today, ahead of a series of programmes to be broadcast in April and May on BBC Four. Cameras have followed their journey as they compete for the chance to perform in the Grand Final which is to be held at Sadler’s Wells on Saturday 9th May and broadcast live on BBC Two. The series starts on Friday 17th April at 7.30pm on BBC Four (more details below).

Dancers aged 16 – 20 from across the UK were selected through two preliminary rounds to compete in four Category Finals – Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary and South Asian dance.

The panel of leading dance experts is announced in full today: for Ballet Dominic Antonucci, Ballet Master of Birmingham Royal Ballet and Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet; for Contemporary, Mark Baldwin, Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company and Jasmin Vardimon, Artistic Director of Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company; for Hip Hop, DJ Renegade and Choreographer & Artistic Director of Indahouse Clara Badajo, and for South Asian dance, Padmashree Pratap Pawar and Mira Balachandran Gokul, Bharatanatyam dancer and co-Artistic Director of SANKALPAM. They join Kenneth Tharp, Chief Executive of The Place, who judges across all of the Category Finals.

Each programme will focus on an individual Category Final and include profiles of the young dancers, go behind the scenes as they prepare for their performances with their teachers and mentors, and introduce each of the dance forms. With highlights of their performances and the thoughts of some of the foremost dance experts in Britain today. BBC Young Dancer provides an insight into what it takes to succeed in one of the most competitive and pressurised of disciplines.

At the end of each BBC Four programme the Category winner will be announced, with two further wild card selections revealed in the last programme ahead of the Grand Final. All six Grand Finalists will work with a leading young choreographer, who will create a brand new solo for them to premiere on BBC Two 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.

Artistic Director of ZFin Malta dance ensemble Mavin Khoo is a new addition to the judging panel for the live Grand Final, joining Artistic Director of New Adventures, Choreographer and Director Matthew Bourne, Choreographer and Director Wayne McGregor, English National Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, Dancer and Choreographer Kenrick Sandy, and Alistair Spalding, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells. (Due to an unforeseen alteration to his international performance schedule, Akram Khan has had to withdraw from judging the Grand Final, but will contribute to the documentary content included in the series.)

Internationally renowned Ballet star Carlos Acosta takes on an ambassadorial role for BBC Young Dancer 2015 and the Grand Final will be co-hosted by Darcey Bussell.

Category Finalists

Ballet: Paris Fitzpatrick (19), Hertfordshire; Jenny Hackwell (18), Warrington; Hamish Scott (17), Essex; Sayaka Ishibashi (19), Hiroshima (based in London), Archie Sullivan (18), London.

Contemporary: Jacob O’Connell (17), Swindon; Kasichana Okene-Jameson (19), London; Diana Patience (19), Eastbourne; Connor Scott (16), Northumberland; Kai Tomioka (19), London

South Asian: Sivani Balachandran (18), Middlesex; Anaya Bolar (17), Birmingham; Jaina Modasia (20), Watford; Vidya Patel (19), Birmingham; Lakshmi Ranjan (18), London

Hip Hop: Harry Barnes (18), Wirral: Jonadette Carpio (20), Abercwmboi; Jodelle Douglas (19), London; Kieran Lai (18), Southend-on-Sea; Sharifa Tonkmor (20), London

The Category Finals will be broadcast on BBC FOUR:
Friday 17th April, 7.30pm Contemporary
Friday 24th April, 7.30pm Hip Hop
Friday 1st May, 7.30pm South Asian
Friday 8th May, 7.30pm Ballet

Grand Final, live from Sadler’s Wells on BBC TWO:
Saturday 9th May

BBC Young Dancer is part of Get Creative – a year-long BBC celebration of British arts, culture and creativity in partnership with What Next. To find out more ways of participating in the arts visit #bbcgetcreative

Photo: The launch of BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler’s Wells. From right: Tony Hall, Carlos Acosta, David Nixon, Sharon Watson, DJ Renegade, Matthew Bourne, Alistair Spalding, Seeta Patel, Kenrick Sandy. By Sim Cannety-Clarke, courtesy BBC.

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