Ballet Final BBC Young Dancer


Ballet Final

Competition showcasing the best of young British dance talent continues as five hopefuls compete for the ballet category title at The Lowry in Salford.


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Transcript


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ANITA RANI: BBC Young Dancer began last week with street dance.

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At the end of a closely contested Category Final...

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Jodelle Douglas.

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..21-year-old popper Jodelle Douglas was named winner,

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guaranteeing him a place in the Grand Final.

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To actually win is just a bonus, you know, it's like the cherry on top.

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So, yeah, very happy.

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Tonight, we turn the spotlight on ballet.

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It's the most demanding of professions, requiring

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a high level of technical skill and artistry.

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For one of our five category finalists,

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a place in the Grand Final

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awaits and with it,

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a chance to perform on this

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iconic stage at Sadler's Wells.

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Welcome to the Ballet Final of BBC Young Dancer 2017.

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Last summer, the UK's best young dancers aged 16 to 21 were

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invited to enter the competition in four categories - Ballet,

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Contemporary, South Asian, and Street Dance.

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In November, following a DVD audition stage,

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ten promising ballet dancers

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were selected to compete in Round 2, held at DanceEast in Ipswich.

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Their challenge,

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to impress three leading figures from the world of ballet

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in live performance.

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Internationally-renowned choreographer Ashley Page...

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I'm always a great believer in presenting yourself through

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the work, then you will show both the choreography and yourself

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in the right balance.

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..Artistic Director of Ballet Black Cassa Pancho...

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With classical ballet, there's either

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a right way of executing a turn or you're not doing it properly.

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But then on top of that, you're really looking for

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performance quality, something that really speaks to you in the

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audience, that really tells the story of the dance they're doing.

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..and founder of Ballet Cymru Darius James.

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One of my things that I look out for is personality.

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Either they can choreograph their own work or they work with

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a choreographer who can bring out the best in them.

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All the dancers were asked to perform two solos.

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At stake - five places in the BBC Young Dancer Ballet Final.

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With the people we've chosen, it should certainly be an

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exciting evening and hopefully the encouragement of getting

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through to the next stage of the competition will generate

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confidence and make them raise their game.

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APPLAUSE

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The five dancers through to the ballet final are Ryan Felix,

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a student at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham.

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I'm really looking forward to the experience of performing on

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stage, in front of a lot of people.

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Also from Elmhurst and in her final year, Jade Wallace.

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It's what I love to do, so it's going to be such good fun.

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From the English National Ballet School,

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Rhys Antoni Yeomans.

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When you're on stage it just feels so natural and the adrenaline

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kicks in and it's just a beautiful feeling.

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Training at Ballet West in Scotland, Uyu Hiromoto.

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I didn't expect to go through so I'm really grateful that I got

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through and I'm really happy about it.

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And Oscar Ward, also at Ballet West.

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It was really great to hear how I've got through to the final.

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It was just... Yeah, I was really ecstatic.

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MUSIC: O Fortuna by Carl Orff

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Ballet can grab your attention and suck you in

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and you'll love it forever.

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Graceful, dramatic, magical and athletic,

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ballet continues to captivate audiences around the world.

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To an audience that has never seen ballet before, I would say,

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"Come and give it one chance.

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"At worst, you will be surprised.

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"And at best, your life will be changed forever."

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Classical ballet is based on a series of formal positions

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and gestures, and it takes years of training to achieve the

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technique required to perform at the highest level.

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What's distinctive about ballet as an art form is the extreme

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physicality, so, it's really the only form of dance where you

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will see the women en pointe, where you will see these extreme jumps.

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In classical ballets there are a lot of rules, there are a lot of

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things that you have to get right before you can start dancing really.

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Your speed, your flexibility, your strength,

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all of those things are, you know, you're working all the time.

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What it takes to be a ballerina is not perhaps the glamour or

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femininity or physique,

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I think that's all very important but I think what would supersede

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that is dedication and drive and never-ending quest to do better.

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For me what makes ballet powerful is when all of that is

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harnessed to communicate a story or an emotion to an audience.

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The technique on its own is not enough.

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As well as demonstrating their abilities in two solos,

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each of the finalists must also perform a pas de deux, a duet,

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which is at the heart of the ballet repertoire.

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For the young female dancer,

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really the most important thing is to be very reliable and she

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should be predictable in where her balance will be.

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And if she is a very good and competent dancer,

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she should be easy to partner.

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The challenge is to look after your lady, really,

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to make sure she feels comfortable and secure.

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She's out there, she's the sort of face of the two of you for

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a lot of it.

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But it's also hearing the music together, breathing together,

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just finding a connection in those moments.

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In the 21st century,

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ballet is still pushing the boundaries both physically

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and artistically, constantly looking for new ways of reinventing itself.

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All the companies in the UK and across the world are now

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having these wonderful contemporary choreographers coming

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and crossing over and working

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with the classical ballet companies and creating amazing work.

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With contemporary ballet in particular, you can't just let go of

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your classical technique and think, "Oh, I'm just going to be free."

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It looks free but it actually is not, you need to have a really

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strong classical base in order to be able to take it somewhere else.

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But it always comes back to having your technique together.

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It's early January and to prepare for their appearance in the

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Ballet Final, all five finalists are invited to

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a workshop at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport.

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It's their first chance to meet their mentors.

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Jade and Uyu will work with former Principal of The Royal Ballet

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and one of the leading ballerinas of her generation Viviana Durante.

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It's not about doing a variation better than somebody else.

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Don't think of it like that at all.

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You just do your best for what you love.

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Don't forget, it's what you're passionate about.

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You have to work really hard to achieve certain things.

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It's about the practising. It's about the hours you put in.

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You have to be devoted.

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And the three boys will be mentored by Artistic Director

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of Northern Ballet David Nixon.

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Once you get to your performance, you need to be kind of, almost

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cold about it in a certain sense, not getting emotionally involved.

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I'm here to support them. We have a lot of criticism in dance.

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It's basically how we function.

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I say to the dancers sometimes, "It's just a note and you can use it

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"or you can embrace it and really go for it."

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First to the studio is 16-year-old Ryan.

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David is keen to take a look at RIVE,

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a dance that Ryan has choreographed himself.

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Next, it's a little bit more, until you get to that final one

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that's huge.

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I said to him, "So, what's this solo about?"

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And he mentioned these four words which were - velocity,

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elevation, resistance and impact.

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You've given yourself a hard prep there, young man.

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Then all of a sudden what I'd seen started to make sense,

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but that he hadn't taken his own words and understood how

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he had choreographed it with the intention of those words.

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This isn't talking. Stand up here.

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He knows how to, kind of, get you motivated

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and to make you work harder,

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but making you feel comfortable at the same time.

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I just really enjoyed it, to be honest.

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In another studio, 19-year-old Jade is rehearsing under the

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watchful eye of Viviana.

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She's very musical. She's a very quick mover which is wonderful.

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She just needs to push herself a little bit more.

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Keep on that plie, on our supporting leg cos...

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'Viviana was so encouraging.'

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I felt like she could really see my strengths and she was really

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good at picking out what I could improve on.

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'We worked a little bit on her posture.'

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She has this very strong technique, beautiful jump.

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It's just allowing herself to go further.

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..before the big jete...

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'She made me feel quite confident really. Made me feel...'

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..special as the dancer I am, you know,

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because we're all so different.

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Good.

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Rhys is keen to work with David on his portrayal of Puck from

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A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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Quiet, shush!

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You're not shushing on the second one, you're posing.

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It allowed us to engage more in a conversation about dynamics

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and musicality and personality.

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Just slap me.

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That's not a slap.

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More.

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More.

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There!

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The most interesting thing was when he would tell me and do the movement

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I could see it and then he'd show me the movement and he didn't do it.

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I'm getting mischievous - "funny" -

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rather than mischievous - "I can also do naughty".

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He just gave me more of a way of thinking, the choreography,

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of like, the story, how I tell it, like, what I'm doing, is it working?

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Is it not working?

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There you go! That's it!

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So it's good feedback to get from someone who's done it

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in his own career.

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Uyu is working with Viviana on the Summer Fairy Solo

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from Frederick Ashton's version of Cinderella,

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a production Viviana knows well from her time with The Royal Ballet.

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We talked about how important it is for a dancer to listen to the music.

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About how it would be like a script for an actor, so therefore,

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you have to see the shades of the music and, you know, work on those.

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You know, really feel your forehead...

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She told me to, like, imagine I'm in the summer and, like,

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wiping off sweat, it's really, like, humid

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and then it's like my arm's really heavy.

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It was interesting to see her, you know, progression,

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even just in an hour, how much she was taking in. It was amazing.

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Yes.

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I was a bit nervous first but, like,

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cos of her personality, I really enjoyed it.

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In the final, Oscar will be performing the Act 3 Variation

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from Sleeping Beauty,

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and David is keen for him to stamp his own

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authority on the dance.

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It's like, somebody changes their mind halfway through

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-a sentence and you're like, "What were you talking about?"

-Yeah.

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That's what you did to the audience.

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He gave me a lot of tips about certain things

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that I'm not quite clear on.

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One general thing he said is just have more confidence because

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he didn't want me to look scared, like, a rabbit in the headlights.

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I think he wanted me to just look cool and measured.

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Why so serious?

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Are you depressed on your wedding day?

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He's what I would call, as a dancer, quite loose still,

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so things aren't necessarily connected all the time.

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But he's young, so he wouldn't be reaching that point yet.

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But when you're coaching somebody,

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you're trying to get them to understand a little bit more.

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I think it's nice to have a fresh pair of eyes, like David's,

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because I've taken it away in a new perspective.

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With less than two weeks to go before the Ballet Final, the dancers

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return to their schools to put the finishing touches to their dances.

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I plan on focusing on the new aspects and the new insight I have

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and making it more of a performance and less of a technical piece.

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It takes a lot of energy to try and make it look effortless.

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You can improve a line or a slight change of direction,

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there's so much tweaking that goes into it.

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I want to keep perfecting the solo so that every time I can

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perform it I won't have to worry about the nitty-gritty stuff.

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I want it to be natural.

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Working with Vivian Durante,

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she was telling me to have more confidence,

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so I think if I could enjoy the performance I would be really happy.

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I'll be thinking of all of David's corrections and I'll be

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applying it to my rehearsals and make sure I'm mentally and

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physically prepared for the final.

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It's the end of January and after months of preparation, the day

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of the Ballet Final has arrived.

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With only a few hours to go before they perform in front of the

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judges, all five dancers go through their final rehearsals on the

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stage at the Lowry Centre in Salford.

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Keeping a close eye on the dancers, mentors David and Viviana.

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They've improved so much and I can see they've been thinking

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about all sorts of little details that I sort of suggested.

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It's one of the hardest professions because you tend to rehearse

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in one environment, like the studio,

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and then you're going on stage, where all of a sudden you have these

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lights coming from all directions and it's a challenge.

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You have mixed emotions before you go on stage.

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You know, it's exciting, it's terrifying, but you've just got

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to try and have that calm to give yourself the best possible chance.

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As soon as you step out there, that all goes away and you can

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just enjoy it.

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I'm just really excited because it means quite a lot to me.

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Being here is really kind of amplifying that and just building up

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the tension and I'm just really looking forward

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to being able to perform.

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I feel excited about this.

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It's such a great opportunity and it's always fun to perform on stage.

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Now that I'm here, my belly is doing, like, back flips.

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For me I find the pas de deux much more scary than the solo.

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Because if it goes wrong, the solo, I can cover it up,

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but with the pas de deux, if she falls

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-then I might have to fall with her!

-HE CHUCKLES

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I think the most nervous moment of all of it for me

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is just when you're about to walk on stage but I get

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a lot of adrenaline from it and it takes over you completely.

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So for me it's important to just brush it aside and just breathe,

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take a few deep breaths and walk on.

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They've worked on the technique so they don't have to think about it.

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I think they can just throw it away almost and really indulge

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themselves in what they're trying to portray through dance.

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Each dancer will perform two contrasting solos

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as well as a pas de deux.

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Deciding who will win this BBC Young Dancer Ballet Final,

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three leading figures from the dance world.

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Deborah Bull is a leading figure in the arts world and

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a former principal dancer at The Royal Ballet.

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I think with dancers of this age,

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you want to see a finished technique,

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a strong performance, but I think you also want to see potential.

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Being able to test yourself in the public domain, out there on

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the stage is always what you have to try to do.

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And during your training, that doesn't happen so often, so this is,

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if you like, a stepping stone on the way to their professional career.

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Teacher and ballet master Matz Skoog is a former Artistic Director at

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English National Ballet.

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A winning performance requires a combination of things -

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a solid and good technique, a flare of performance,

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but also an indication of a potential future.

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And judging across all four dance categories Shobana Jeyasingh,

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internationally-renowned choreographer

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and Artistic Director of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance.

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The challenge, I think, in a technique like ballet is to

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show qualities of grace, of power, of control.

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So you've got to charm the audience and bring them to appreciate

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your technique but also love you as a performer.

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First to dance in this Ballet Final, 16-year-old Ryan Felix.

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I started dancing when I was two because I just really enjoyed

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the movement of it.

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I also like to watch it and go to the theatre and, like,

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seeing all the dancers and all the male roles and things.

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It was just kind of real inspiring,

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especially from quite a young age, to witness that.

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Ryan is now a full-time student at Elmhurst Valley School

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in Birmingham.

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I study English and dance for A levels.

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I find it quite easy to juggle the two because the majority of

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our day is spent dancing and we have two hours a day of academics.

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I try to keep my focus predominantly on dance because that's what

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I want to do for a career.

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Ryan's progress as a dancer is being supervised by the Director of

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the school and former principal dancer with the

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Birmingham Royal Ballet, Robert Parker.

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He's working on his line, he's working on his footwork,

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he's working on his fifth positions, all the detail and clarity,

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but also that element of performance.

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He's got a great dynamic energy.

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Now he just needs to really hone everything he's got and

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really deliver that to the audience.

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Plie, one and two, phase three and four.

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I decided to enter the BBC Young Dancer

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because I was looking at ways

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to challenge myself and to kind of gain performance experience,

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being in the kind of environment where you're

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under pressure and you have to perform.

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And I thought, well,

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this would be something I could do that would give me that challenge.

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And I'm really excited to be a part of it.

0:19:210:19:23

It's exciting to be seen by people who are quite high up in the

0:19:270:19:30

dance world because it means quite a lot to

0:19:300:19:32

me that I've been able to get someone like this.

0:19:320:19:34

So all the work that I've put in, I can show to other people.

0:19:340:19:37

My classical solo is the Paquita Male Variation

0:19:380:19:42

from the pas de deux.

0:19:420:19:43

It's set in Spain.

0:19:430:19:45

It's a kind of marriage celebration so it's happy and it's all

0:19:450:19:49

about showing what you can do as the character.

0:19:490:19:51

PAS DE DEUX FROM PAQUITA PLAYS

0:19:530:19:57

APPLAUSE

0:21:060:21:10

Ryan Felix opening the BBC Young Dancer Ballet Final.

0:21:100:21:13

Next a pas de deux from the ballet Giselle,

0:21:130:21:16

choreographed by Peter Wright.

0:21:160:21:19

I'll be performing the Peasant pas de deux from Giselle

0:21:190:21:22

with Chloe Jones.

0:21:220:21:23

And it's about two peasants dancing to entertain their friends in the

0:21:230:21:28

other villages and the aristocrats.

0:21:280:21:30

They're happy, they're in love and it's about the kind of passion.

0:21:300:21:33

It's just quite a jolly piece.

0:21:330:21:34

PEASANT PAS DE DEUX FROM GISELLE PLAYS

0:21:340:21:39

APPLAUSE

0:22:310:22:35

To end his programme, Ryan is dancing RIVE,

0:22:440:22:48

a piece that he's choreographed himself.

0:22:480:22:50

HIGH-TEMPO DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS

0:22:500:22:54

APPLAUSE

0:24:040:24:08

I enjoyed the ease that he brought to the stage.

0:24:180:24:23

I think is one to watch.

0:24:230:24:24

For such a young man,

0:24:240:24:25

a very masculine style of working which is attractive.

0:24:250:24:29

I think he's going to do well.

0:24:290:24:31

For me what stood out was his second solo.

0:24:310:24:34

It was a real, sort of,

0:24:340:24:35

act of courage and I was really impressed by that.

0:24:350:24:39

After the first piece, the nerves were gone,

0:24:390:24:41

I was just really able to enjoy.

0:24:410:24:42

This is what all the work from the

0:24:420:24:44

past several months has been towards.

0:24:440:24:46

So it's really great that it's finally come and I've just been

0:24:460:24:48

really happy with the experience.

0:24:480:24:50

Like Ryan, our second dancer in this ballet final

0:24:530:24:56

is a student at Elmhurst School of Ballet,

0:24:560:24:59

19-year-old Jade Wallace.

0:24:590:25:01

Yeah, I love it at Elmhurst. The teachers there are so supportive.

0:25:060:25:09

It's such a friendly environment.

0:25:090:25:12

It's really exciting, being in my final year,

0:25:120:25:14

so I think we're all just making the most of the time

0:25:140:25:17

we have together now.

0:25:170:25:19

It's just having good fun, really,

0:25:190:25:21

and training together and working towards a common goal.

0:25:210:25:24

SWEEPING ORCHESTRAL SCORE

0:25:240:25:27

I love ballet so much just because what you put into it,

0:25:310:25:35

you can get out of it and it's just unpredictable

0:25:350:25:39

and keeps you on your toes -

0:25:390:25:41

pardon the pun!

0:25:410:25:42

Like all of tonight's finalists,

0:25:440:25:46

Jade's ambition is to join a professional ballet company.

0:25:460:25:49

Now in her final year,

0:25:490:25:51

she's working with former Birmingham Royal Ballet soloist Lei Zhao.

0:25:510:25:55

Jade has a very special artistic quality.

0:25:550:25:59

She also has very good technique,

0:25:590:26:01

in terms of using her feet and legs and turnout.

0:26:010:26:04

Originally from Derbyshire,

0:26:060:26:08

Jade's passion for dance was a pleasant surprise for her family.

0:26:080:26:12

My mum and dad are so supportive.

0:26:120:26:14

I mean, we've not had any dance in the family, so this is new for them.

0:26:140:26:18

We don't know where she gets her talent from at all,

0:26:180:26:20

cos your experience of dancing

0:26:200:26:22

is probably Friday and Saturday night

0:26:220:26:25

down the Pink Coconut in Derby,

0:26:250:26:26

dancing round your handbag

0:26:260:26:28

and I was brought up on punk rock,

0:26:280:26:30

so I can pogo a bit and that's about it.

0:26:300:26:33

So no ballet. A bit of a mystery where it's come from, really.

0:26:330:26:37

Just before I go on stage,

0:26:390:26:41

my heart's absolutely beating out of my chest.

0:26:410:26:44

It's that sort of fight-or-flight reaction

0:26:440:26:47

but you just take a deep breath, go out on stage.

0:26:470:26:50

That's what's so special about it.

0:26:500:26:53

To open her programme, Jade dances Gamzatti's Variation

0:26:530:26:57

from La Bayadere, choreographed by Natalia Makarova.

0:26:570:27:00

APPLAUSE

0:27:380:27:41

My pas de deux is grand pas de deux from the ballet Le Corsaire.

0:27:470:27:51

It's a fairly romantic pas de deux,

0:27:510:27:54

so it's nice and soft and slow and lyrical

0:27:540:27:58

and again it gives you a chance to be really lush with your movements

0:27:580:28:01

and to show the connection with your partner.

0:28:010:28:03

APPLAUSE

0:29:250:29:27

My second solo I choreographed myself

0:29:350:29:38

and I'm actually portraying the character of a 1950s secretary,

0:29:380:29:42

so you'll see me wearing my glasses and my office dress

0:29:420:29:46

and it's supposed to be just a real cheeky, fun number.

0:29:460:29:49

It's still got some classical technique in there,

0:29:490:29:52

but it's a real fun piece.

0:29:520:29:55

FAST-PACED ORCHESTRAL SCORE

0:29:550:29:58

TYPEWRITER CLACKS AND PINGS

0:29:580:30:01

For me, Jade was very strong in the Corsaire pas de deux,

0:31:310:31:35

gave a really confident performance.

0:31:350:31:37

She filled the stage, and then in the final piece,

0:31:370:31:41

she really came alive.

0:31:410:31:43

The item that stuck with me was her second solo,

0:31:430:31:45

taking a technique like ballet

0:31:450:31:47

and then using it to make this portrait

0:31:470:31:49

of a very contemporary character.

0:31:490:31:51

I think the highlight for me was the pas de deux.

0:31:510:31:54

I felt like we created an atmosphere when we were on stage

0:31:540:31:57

and it was nice to have company out there, yeah.

0:31:570:31:59

Still to come in this ballet final,

0:32:030:32:05

two students from Ballet West in Scotland,

0:32:050:32:08

Oscar Ward and Uyu Hiromoto.

0:32:080:32:11

First, 18-year-old Rhys Antoni Yeomans.

0:32:110:32:14

Training full-time at the English National Ballet School,

0:32:230:32:26

Rhys was inspired to take up ballet

0:32:260:32:28

after seeing the stage show Billy Elliot.

0:32:280:32:31

Instantly, from watching the show, I fell in love with ballet,

0:32:310:32:34

so from there I started dancing and then a few months later,

0:32:340:32:38

I auditioned for the show

0:32:380:32:40

and was chosen to play the role.

0:32:400:32:43

I gained so much experience from performing

0:32:430:32:45

and just my passion for dance grew even more.

0:32:450:32:48

After starring as Billy Elliot for two years,

0:32:480:32:51

Rhys was determined to pursue a career in ballet.

0:32:510:32:54

He's now blossoming under the watchful eye

0:32:540:32:56

of the school's director of dance, Samira Saidi.

0:32:560:32:59

When Rhys arrived, I think probably because of the Billy Elliot aspect,

0:32:590:33:03

he was a little bit perhaps raw in his ability to refine his technique,

0:33:030:33:10

a certain elegance was missing

0:33:100:33:12

and I think they're the things we've really worked on,

0:33:120:33:15

because elegance and line is what singles out classical dancing

0:33:150:33:20

from other dancing,

0:33:200:33:21

so he's really beginning now to reap those benefits.

0:33:210:33:25

Over the Christmas period,

0:33:280:33:29

Rhys has his first taste of working with a professional ballet company,

0:33:290:33:33

with a small role in English National Ballet's Nutcracker

0:33:330:33:37

at the London Coliseum.

0:33:370:33:38

Being at the Coliseum, it's one of the most beautiful stages in London

0:33:380:33:42

and to be able to work with a professional company

0:33:420:33:45

like English National Ballet, it's such a dream come true.

0:33:450:33:48

It's a tough, intense few weeks of performing, but it gives me a taster

0:33:480:33:53

of what it's like to perform in a professional company.

0:33:530:33:56

So today I'm one of the rats in the piece

0:33:580:34:01

and this is quite exciting,

0:34:010:34:02

because not many students get the opportunity to perform other roles,

0:34:020:34:05

so it's a good tester for me to be able to push myself

0:34:050:34:09

and see if I can do more types of characters and styles.

0:34:090:34:13

My classical piece is James from La Sylphide

0:34:180:34:21

and it's a very demanding solo.

0:34:210:34:24

The character is very flirtatious and very confident

0:34:250:34:29

and he demands the stage.

0:34:290:34:30

Rhys Antoni Yeomans opening his programme

0:35:220:35:25

with the James Variation from La Sylphide.

0:35:250:35:28

Next, the Satanella pas de deux,

0:35:280:35:30

choreographed by Marius Petipa.

0:35:300:35:32

This pas de deux is really cheeky and playful

0:35:320:35:36

and just listen to the music.

0:35:360:35:38

It gives you a happy feeling inside

0:35:380:35:41

and I feel like it's a really good duet for the audience,

0:35:410:35:45

it's just amazing to watch and it's so technically challenging.

0:35:450:35:49

To end his programme, Rhys is performing a new dance

0:37:000:37:04

specially choreographed for him by Daniel Myers,

0:37:040:37:07

inspired by the character Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

0:37:070:37:10

FLUTE AND PERCUSSION

0:37:120:37:14

APPLAUSE

0:39:000:39:03

Former Billy Elliot star Rhys Antoni Yeomans.

0:39:080:39:11

You can watch all of tonight's performances in full on our website.

0:39:110:39:15

Rhys is a strong character.

0:39:180:39:20

He has a broad range of styles that he can work in

0:39:200:39:24

and natural stage charm and presence.

0:39:240:39:29

Rhys had chosen his repertoire extremely well.

0:39:290:39:32

The first solo, the James solo from La Sylphide,

0:39:320:39:34

suited him perfectly and he did it really beautifully.

0:39:340:39:38

I'd like to see him extend his range even more

0:39:380:39:41

to see what else he could do.

0:39:410:39:42

There's clearly so much talent there.

0:39:420:39:45

The evening went amazing.

0:39:450:39:46

Just to perform and get out there

0:39:460:39:49

and do what I've been working so hard for

0:39:490:39:51

is just amazing, so I'm so happy with how it went.

0:39:510:39:55

Just looking forward to hear about the results.

0:39:550:39:58

Next to dance, 19-year-old Uyu Hiromoto.

0:40:020:40:06

BAGPIPE MUSIC

0:40:110:40:12

Now a student at the Ballet West school in the Scottish Highlands,

0:40:150:40:18

Uyu hails from Yokohama in Japan.

0:40:180:40:21

I always wanted to learn ballet in the UK,

0:40:230:40:26

cos UK is one of the big ballet countries.

0:40:260:40:30

When I first came here, I could speak English, but barely,

0:40:300:40:36

so my friends around me helped me always and I'm really grateful

0:40:360:40:40

that I've got so many friends who helped me.

0:40:400:40:44

It takes a lot of courage, I think, to up and leave Japan

0:40:460:40:50

and come all the way to the Highlands of Scotland.

0:40:500:40:52

It's quite a contrast and since coming, she's just embraced

0:40:520:40:56

the whole culture here and she's just fitted in with everybody.

0:40:560:41:00

Her English is really quite good now.

0:41:000:41:04

I obviously miss home,

0:41:040:41:06

but at the same time, I like being here with friends.

0:41:060:41:10

Friends are like my second family.

0:41:100:41:13

The first three, nice, clean 90

0:41:170:41:19

and then the last one you can go a little bit more.

0:41:190:41:23

Since Uyu started training with us, we've seen a big development in her.

0:41:230:41:27

For Uyu, the BBC Young Dancer competition is going to give her

0:41:270:41:31

the experience of the competition world,

0:41:310:41:34

working with other dancers.

0:41:340:41:35

I think she has a very strong nerve,

0:41:350:41:37

so I don't think the pressure will be too much for her.

0:41:370:41:40

I think she's quite accustomed to that

0:41:400:41:43

and will be able to hold her own on that stage.

0:41:430:41:46

It's really great,

0:41:480:41:50

cos I've never done a competition like BBC Young Dancer,

0:41:500:41:53

I've never taken an interview like this before.

0:41:530:41:56

I think it's a really good opportunity for me to grow up

0:41:580:42:03

to the next level as a dancer as well.

0:42:030:42:06

I feel quite prepared for this, cos I've been practising for so long

0:42:130:42:18

and, yeah, I'm really excited today.

0:42:180:42:21

A bit nervous, but, yeah, really excited.

0:42:210:42:23

Uyu begins her programme with the Summer Fairy from Cinderella,

0:42:260:42:30

choreographed by Frederick Ashton.

0:42:300:42:33

It's kind of slow and calm music

0:42:330:42:36

and the dance is slow and calm as well. It's beautiful.

0:42:360:42:40

APPLAUSE

0:44:460:44:48

Uyu's partner for her pas de deux is Oscar,

0:44:480:44:51

the final competitor in this ballet final

0:44:510:44:54

and we'll see their performance later in the programme.

0:44:540:44:57

For her second solo, she's dancing a piece titled Sand,

0:44:570:45:00

which has been specially choreographed for her

0:45:000:45:03

by Yoshiki Noborisaka.

0:45:030:45:04

I'm going to do more sharp movements and more animalistic movements.

0:45:040:45:11

It's not scary, but it's kind of that idea.

0:45:110:45:15

HARD PERCUSSION

0:45:180:45:20

APPLAUSE

0:46:290:46:32

She had a lovely stage presence.

0:46:450:46:48

She created this aura of grace and of femininity.

0:46:480:46:52

She really engaged with the audience and drew you in.

0:46:520:46:57

Her last piece in the black was extremely striking.

0:46:570:47:00

She's a very strong physical presence.

0:47:000:47:02

She's happy to look the audience in the eye

0:47:020:47:04

and she really took the chance to do that within the last solo.

0:47:040:47:08

I think I am quite happy how it went.

0:47:080:47:11

I don't mean like everything went really well,

0:47:110:47:13

but I really enjoyed the moments on stage

0:47:130:47:15

and, yeah, it was really good.

0:47:150:47:17

To end this ballet final, 18-year-old Oscar Ward,

0:47:210:47:25

also a student at Ballet West.

0:47:250:47:26

Originally from Nottingham,

0:47:330:47:34

dance has always been a major part of Oscar's life.

0:47:340:47:37

I think I was three years old

0:47:390:47:41

and my mum took me dancing because I couldn't stop fidgeting

0:47:410:47:44

and I think she wanted something to kind of tame that.

0:47:440:47:48

She asked me if I wanted to do dance classes and I was like, "Yeah!"

0:47:480:47:52

I was really up for it.

0:47:520:47:53

So I went along and it never really stopped, to be honest.

0:47:530:47:57

I think you get to a point when you want to carry on doing it always.

0:47:570:48:01

-ALL:

-Hi!

0:48:010:48:03

One of Oscar's earliest dance teachers

0:48:030:48:05

was Helen Taylor at Leonard Dance School.

0:48:050:48:08

He was always so keen.

0:48:080:48:10

I've never had a child that was so keen

0:48:100:48:13

and he could talk about anything to do with ballet.

0:48:130:48:16

While he was talking, he was dancing.

0:48:160:48:19

He literally danced the whole time.

0:48:190:48:21

He couldn't keep still and he's done just so well, I'm so proud of him.

0:48:210:48:26

Oscar is now in his final year at Ballet West

0:48:310:48:34

in the Scottish Highlands.

0:48:340:48:36

Up here, Ballet West is just another world.

0:48:360:48:38

I'm not sure if the countryside gives me an inspiration,

0:48:380:48:41

but I think the fact that you get close to everyone so quick,

0:48:410:48:44

because you're not in a city,

0:48:440:48:45

you get to know everyone and that keeps me inspired

0:48:450:48:48

and it just keep me, you know, going.

0:48:480:48:50

SWEEPING ORCHESTRAL SCORE

0:48:520:48:54

One of the pieces Oscar will be dancing in the final

0:48:540:48:57

was specially choreographed for him by Natasha Watson.

0:48:570:49:01

Natasha knows how I dance,

0:49:010:49:02

so she knows what my strengths are

0:49:020:49:04

and she's very skilled at choreographing,

0:49:040:49:07

so it was just lots of fun to make it.

0:49:070:49:09

She asked for my input,

0:49:090:49:10

I gave my response back, we invented things together,

0:49:100:49:13

it was really interesting.

0:49:130:49:15

I like the idea that the energy goes...

0:49:150:49:18

That love for the audience, to feel the intensity behind the piece,

0:49:180:49:23

so to go through, we like to break it down, each section,

0:49:230:49:26

really discuss why we're doing it,

0:49:260:49:28

give imagery, ideas into how to be moving.

0:49:280:49:32

And he's great - we come back the next day and it's much better.

0:49:320:49:35

I do take it seriously,

0:49:380:49:39

but I think people forget that we do dance because we love to do it.

0:49:390:49:43

It's not all serious all the time.

0:49:430:49:45

Yeah, there's fun with it too.

0:49:450:49:46

I'm a bit nervous. I'm very nervous.

0:49:550:49:58

I think nerves is always good,

0:49:580:49:59

but I think for me, I've just got to keep calm, relaxed, collected,

0:49:590:50:03

cos I tend to get quite worked up and I tend to get quite stressed.

0:50:030:50:06

My classical piece is The Sleeping Beauty, Act III,

0:50:080:50:12

so I'm embodying a prince, I've got to look smug, confident,

0:50:120:50:15

almost cocky.

0:50:150:50:17

It's a very full-on solo, but I've just got to own it, in a sense.

0:50:170:50:20

I've just got to take complete control and just go for it.

0:50:200:50:24

MUSIC: The Sleeping Beauty by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

0:50:240:50:27

APPLAUSE

0:51:240:51:25

Oscar's partner for his pas de deux is fellow finalist Uyu Hiromoto.

0:51:360:51:40

Both dancers are judged on this performance

0:51:400:51:43

of the Harlequinade pas de deux.

0:51:430:51:45

The idea behind it is that I'm a harlequin boy and Uyu,

0:51:450:51:50

she's a rich man's daughter, we're destined to be married,

0:51:500:51:54

against all the odds, kind of like a Romeo & Juliet, if you want,

0:51:540:51:57

but there's still an element of humour.

0:51:570:52:00

The difference working with a partner is, like,

0:52:000:52:03

you can't think about just yourself.

0:52:030:52:07

You need to think about the other

0:52:070:52:09

and you need to really communicate to each other.

0:52:090:52:12

GENTLE ORCHESTRAL SCORE

0:52:150:52:17

APPLAUSE

0:53:190:53:22

To end his programme and to close this ballet final,

0:53:290:53:33

Oscar will dance the piece choreographed for him

0:53:330:53:35

by Natasha Watson, Oblique.

0:53:350:53:38

DELICATE ORCHESTRAL SCORE

0:53:420:53:46

APPLAUSE

0:54:400:54:42

Oscar came into his own,

0:54:550:54:57

particularly in the last number he performed tonight.

0:54:570:55:00

He's got the potential to go a lot further with his technique.

0:55:000:55:05

He showed great clarity and precision,

0:55:060:55:09

with a great fluidity of the upper body

0:55:090:55:12

and seemed to have a real aptitude

0:55:120:55:14

for quite an unusual, distinctive style of movement.

0:55:140:55:17

It went well. There were no major hiccups.

0:55:180:55:21

In general, I'm more happy than disappointed.

0:55:210:55:24

It's nice, cos I can go home and say that I've done myself proud, so...

0:55:240:55:28

Oscar Ward bringing this BBC Young Dancer ballet final to a close.

0:55:300:55:35

If you want to watch tonight's performances in full,

0:55:350:55:37

then visit our website...

0:55:370:55:39

Before we find out the result,

0:55:430:55:45

a quick reminder of all tonight's finalists.

0:55:450:55:48

I was just really amazed and really impressed

0:55:480:55:51

by the degree of concentration

0:55:510:55:53

and care that these young dancers brought

0:55:530:55:56

to the stage this evening.

0:55:560:55:58

I thought the standard was very good and was very even.

0:55:580:56:02

One of the benefits of being part of any competition is to be seen

0:56:020:56:06

and perhaps this is the forum where they will be noticed.

0:56:060:56:10

Of course, there's always nerves in a live performance,

0:56:100:56:12

but actually, overall, you could tell

0:56:120:56:15

they were very carefully rehearsed,

0:56:150:56:17

they'd put in a lot of effort and it paid off.

0:56:170:56:19

To announce the winner and the dancer

0:56:220:56:24

going through to the grand final, Deborah Bull.

0:56:240:56:28

Each of the finalists we saw this evening

0:56:280:56:30

had something really distinctive to offer in their performance.

0:56:300:56:34

I am delighted to announce

0:56:340:56:36

that the winner of the BBC Young Dancer 2017 ballet final is...

0:56:360:56:42

..Rhys Antoni Yeomans.

0:56:430:56:45

CHEERING

0:56:450:56:46

Rhys was incredibly consistent throughout the evening.

0:57:070:57:11

He has a very strong technique, which doesn't constrain him.

0:57:110:57:15

He plays with the musicality, he plays with the performance

0:57:150:57:20

and he had a really good night.

0:57:200:57:22

Rhys stood out as the overall winner, I think,

0:57:230:57:26

for putting a charming stage personality

0:57:260:57:28

together with a very capable technique.

0:57:280:57:31

Rhys was in command of his material.

0:57:310:57:34

He was able to show us himself as a performer

0:57:340:57:37

and an artist first and foremost.

0:57:370:57:40

FAMILY MEMBERS WHOOP

0:57:400:57:41

I can't believe it.

0:57:410:57:43

I just won the BBC Young Dancer ballet category final.

0:57:430:57:46

I'm just over the moon. I'm so shocked.

0:57:460:57:49

All the hard work, I feel like it paid off.

0:57:520:57:55

Well, it kind of did,

0:57:550:57:56

so I'm really happy.

0:57:560:57:57

Many congratulations to Rhys.

0:58:000:58:02

Next week, it's all about South Asian dance,

0:58:020:58:05

when five young dancers will be out to impress our jury

0:58:050:58:08

to win their place alongside Rhys

0:58:080:58:10

and street dancer Jodelle Douglas in the grand final

0:58:100:58:14

of BBC Young Dancer 2017.

0:58:140:58:16

What I'm looking for is their heart dancing with their body.

0:58:180:58:21

I always focus on vigorous aspects

0:58:210:58:24

such as double spins in the air, knee spins.

0:58:240:58:27

For me to get through to the grand finals would mean the world.

0:58:270:58:30

That is my aim.

0:58:300:58:31

I especially love storytelling.

0:58:310:58:34

You go on stage and you become whoever you want to be.

0:58:340:58:38

It's where I can come out the most

0:58:380:58:40

and express my inner feelings.

0:58:400:58:42

I've just never considered not dancing.

0:58:420:58:45

The winner of the BBC Young Dancer 2017 South Asian dance final is...

0:58:450:58:52

The series continues with the ballet final as five more hopefuls compete for the category title at The Lowry in Salford. Presented by Anita Rani, the competition is open to dancers aged 16-21 across four categories - ballet, contemporary, street dance and South Asian dance.

Judging the final is a panel of leading dance experts - Deborah Bull, former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, Matz Skoog, former artistic director of English National Ballet, and Shobana Jeyasingh, critically acclaimed choreographer and founder of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance company.

For one of the dancers a place in the grand final awaits, with the opportunity to dance on the main stage at Sadler's Wells.

The finalists are: Ryan Felix, Jade Wallace, Rhys Antoni Yeomans, Uyu Hiromoto and Oscar Ward.


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