The BBC is to turn the spotlight on the UK’s best young dancers with the launch of the first ever BBC Young Dancer 2015. The nationwide award will invite young dancers to submit entries to compete for one of six places in a televised Grand Final to be shown on BBC Two in May 2015.
Four programmes featuring highlights from each of the Category Finals with introductions to the respective dance styles and behind-the-scenes content will also be shown on bbc Four in the weeks running up to the Grand Final, giving an insight into the demands and dedication needed to pursue a career in one of the most rigorous and disciplined art-forms.
The first ever bbc Young Dancer will provide a platform for uk dancers aged 16-20 to demonstrate their dancing abilities through three competitive rounds designed to highlight their technical command, creative and expressive ability, as they compete to win the bbc Young Dancer 2015 title.
The BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall said: “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, London, on Saturday 9 May which will be televised live on BBC Two.
The Grand Final will be judged by a leading panel of dance experts: Artistic Director of New Adventures, Choreographer and Director Matthew Bourne; Choreographer and Dancer Akram Khan; 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.
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.
For the Grand Final, each of the six dancers who’ve been selected 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.
Internationally renowned Ballet star Carlos Acosta has agreed to take on an ambassadorial role for BBC Young Dancer 2015.
BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Asian Network will also broadcast complementary programming around the time of the Grand Final.
The project is part of the BBC’s continuing commitment to the arts and support of new artists joining BBC Young Musician as a showcase for talented and dedicated young performers, and is also a part of BBC Four’s ‘Year of Song and Dance’, a year of programming exploring the extraordinary power of song and dance across a whole spectrum of eras and styles.
BBC Young Dancer is managed and produced by BBC Cymru Wales. The series producer is Paul Bullock and the commissioning editor Jan Younghusband (Head of Commissions, Music and Events TV) for Controller of BBC Two Kim Shillinglaw, and Editor of BBC Four Cassian Harrison.