South Asian Dance Final BBC Young Dancer


South Asian Dance Final

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


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In last week's programme, 18-year-old Rhys Antoni Yeomans

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gave the standout performance to win the BBC Young Dancer Ballet final.

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All the hard work, it paid off, I'm just over the moon.

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Like, I'm so shocked.

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He joins 21-year-old street dance winner Jodelle Douglas

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in the line-up for the grand final in two weeks' time.

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Tonight, five of the country's best Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancers

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compete in the South Asian Dance final.

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The winner will be guaranteed a place in the grand final

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and with it, the chance to perform right here

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on this world-famous stage at Sadler's Wells.

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November 2016 and following an initial selection process,

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11 dancers were invited to take part in the second round of the

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South Asian competition at Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham.

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Their aim - to secure a place in the category final

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of BBC Young Dancer 2017.

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First, they have to impress a panel of leading dance experts -

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Sonia Sabri, one of the UK's foremost dancer choreographers...

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The standard has been exceptional.

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I'm always looking for a big flare,

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the finesse and the finishing of lines and there's a lot of that,

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so I think everyone is up to their game.

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..the distinguished teacher, dancer and choreographer, Piali Ray...

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We saw some very high quality performance,

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young dancers who had lot of clarity, confidence,

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and they showed a range of work that showed how versatile they were.

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Very impressed.

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..and acclaimed dancer and choreographer, Seeta Patel.

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It's genuinely inspiring to see young dancers at this stage

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of their career to be so mature and nuanced in their practice.

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The overarching thing that they all have is the presence,

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the artistry within their vocabulary of movement.

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The dancers each perform two solos, hoping to be one of the five

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selected to go through to the South Asian Dance final.

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I think we can 100% expect a really amazing show.

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And I was just talking to the other judges

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and we're glad we are not judging that round

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cos I think it will be really difficult for them

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to decide between them all.

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It's a very close competition, I think.

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The five dancers through to the final are...

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21-year-old Akshay Prakash from London...

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I took part in the competition to challenge myself.

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I'm feeling quite nervous but also excited.

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..from Watford, 21-year-old Jaina Modasia...

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Dancing touches my soul. It gives me a sense of freedom.

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So I want to be a freelance dancer and I want to grab any

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opportunity that I can whilst I'm young.

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..19-year-old Anaya Bolar from Birmingham...

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When you are on stage performing and doing something that you

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really love, the feeling, it's not...

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You can't really put a word to it. It's just a very beautiful feeling.

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..from Middlesex, 19-year-old Shyam Dattani...

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Kathak itself is a storytelling art. It's very expressive.

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When I was growing up,

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I found it quite hard to express myself and I feel like dance

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has given me that platform to really come out as the person that I am.

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..and completing the line-up,

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20-year-old Anjelli Wignakumar from Harrow.

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I just love being on stage and being able to perform.

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You get a really deep understanding of music and mythology and

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things, so you learn so much as well.

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Everything just comes together and it's just

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a really phenomenal feeling.

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In this South Asian final, the dancers are performing two of

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the most popular classical Indian dance styles.

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The first - Bharatanatyam -

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originated in the Hindu temples

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and court culture of southern India.

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The elements that one looks for

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is very strong footwork.

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I'll be hearing the rhythms really strongly, precisely delivered.

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It's a tough style, but it's really interesting.

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The lower half is really strong,

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allowing the upper half to really fly and do mad things.

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I find quite a lot of similarity between ballet and Bharatanatyam.

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Lot of it is done down in the demi-plie position,

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which we call araimandi.

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Another very specific visual element is the use of hand gestures,

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which are called hastas.

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The costume and the make-up, it's a part of the theatre of the

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form and then the use of the bells on the ankle accentuate the

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rhythmic aspect of the footwork.

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The other style we'll see is Kathak from northern India

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with its origins in the courts of Mughal rulers.

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Kathak dancers in ancient India were travelling bards known as

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Kathakas.

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A Kathak dancer kind of plays percussion with the feet.

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It's very sharp, geometrical,

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there's lots of wow factor

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through leaps and spins.

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The upper body moves in a very different way to the lower body

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because the upper body is the more emotional part of the dance.

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It's about feeling colours with your emotions and the lines

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then come out of your centre and go out.

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In classical Indian dance, these expressive skills are known as...

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Abhinaya tends to be translated as mime.

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It's about embodying certain feelings, certain characters

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and then expressing it and taking it to the audience.

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We tell stories without spoken words,

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but through the poetry of the music.

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There's something really powerful when you can connect to an audience,

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especially in something like Bharatanaytam or Kathak,

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which is telling stories inherently within the form.

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Today, South Asian dance is a powerful presence on the

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British dance scene,

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its influence extending into contemporary dance

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with choreographers like Shobana Jeyasingh

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creating innovative, new work.

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South Asian dance can be utilised in contemporary ways

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in the same way that ballet is, in the same way that contemporary is

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towards ballet. It's nice to see it in its true form,

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but also nice to see it developed into other areas of dance.

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Two years ago, Vidya Patel's performance

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in the final of BBC Young Dancer attracted the attention of one

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of the UK's most celebrated contemporary choreographers,

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Richard Alston.

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She was incredibly charismatic and the whole audience just went

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wild for her.

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Richard invited Vidya to join his dance company to perform in

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a new production - An Italian In Madrid.

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'What really I wanted to do was take another dance language and

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'see if I could'

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let it be part of my company's work.

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The show premiered last year at Sadler's Wells to critical acclaim.

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The combination, you know, of her and the rest of the company

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and the music, I just thought it was electric.

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It was really fantastic. And, you know, she's still so young

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and she had that audience in the palm of her hand.

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APPLAUSE

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It was an amazing experience to perform with the company,

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just to finally get on stage after rehearsing for

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so many weeks, it's been great.

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There's so much that I've learned from that. Performing with them...

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and I can't thank the opportunity enough because it's opened

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so many doors for me.

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It's January and four of the dancers hoping to follow in Vidya's

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footsteps are in Newport to meet the mentors who will guide them

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through the competition.

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Unfortunately, Akshay injured his ankle playing football shortly

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after winning his place in the final and it's uncertain whether

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he'll be able to continue in the competition.

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Working with the four dancers and sharing their expertise are

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dancer, choreographer and Kathak specialist Sonia Sabri...

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How I want the audience to feel as well,

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I think that's very important for me.

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..along with choreographer and Bharatanaytam expert

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Mira Balchandran Gokul.

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You are in your own headspace and you are trying to take your

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audience with you there.

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Something I wanted to suggest is to really walk through the

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space, just to feel the space under your feet and to kind of be

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aware of the dimensions because the more familiar you are with

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your space, the more likely you are going to settle into it.

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You have to own that space, you have to make it your home,

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you just have to master it, really.

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All our dancers have been tasked with preparing two solo pieces

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and a duet for the category finals.

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Now they get an opportunity to work through their solos

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with their specialist mentor.

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In her session with Kathak dancer Jaina,

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Sonia focuses on her stage presentation.

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Jaina is a wonderfully animated dancer.

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She has a lovely, quirky energy.

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I've been working on really fine-tuning her performance,

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particularly for a large stage and for an audience.

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I kind of took a step back and said, "If I was an audience member

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"and I had no knowledge of Kathak, would I have understood that?"

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And that's where you realise, "OK, just show that in a bit more detail."

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I definitely feel like I'm going in the right direction.

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I feel a lot more confident with my pieces.

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In another part of the theatre,

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Bharatanaytam dancer Anaya is being mentored by Mira,

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who advises how she can bring more precision to her pieces.

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She sparky, she's really nimble and we worked on characterization

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because obviously they're doing all of these Abhinaya pieces.

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I want the eyes also to show fear like that.

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Yeah, that's it.

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'She needs to just give herself time to have little punctuation marks

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'to get clarity within the piece that she's doing.'

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I just need a pause.

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'If that clarity is there,'

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then the space for the artistry...

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Otherwise it gets a bit dramatic.

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She wanted me to really play with the dynamics

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and trying to put more of my personality into the dance,

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trying to make my steps clearer.

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So it's a lot to work on.

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In his workshop with Sonia, Shyam is challenged to show more contrast

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in his Kathak pieces whilst making the most of his performance space.

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He's quite dramatic, which is great,

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but at the same time, it's good to really shine the softer,

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'more intricate values of dance as well.'

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Still, still, still!

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'So, today, we've been working on the expressional inside

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'and how we can use that both'

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for abstract and for narrative.

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We need to see variety. Again, the audience needs to be hooked.

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The judges need to be hooked.

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It's been really, really exciting to have a different perspective.

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Try to think about popping the bubble again.

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You never actually get there,

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but the aim is to try and pop it from within.

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She kind of scrutinized every section of my dance,

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saying how I should freeze in time at some points,

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make time stop and then become a whole whirl of movement again.

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There's a lot that I've had to consider

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and had to change about the way I am expressing myself.

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Anjelli is a Bharatanatyam dancer.

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Mira suggests ways of fine-tuning her storytelling.

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Anjelli has a very lovely, expressive quality.

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She said she really wanted to work on the Abhinaya piece,

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so we started off on that.

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People are sitting there, they don't know the story and so you

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have to create that excitement, establish the tone for the piece.

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'It's great to have a fresh pair of eyes to kind of critique your

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'dancing because she is trying to help me'

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with the kind of contrast of different atmospheres in the piece.

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Stretch everything.

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'We've worked on some postural aspects as well.'

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The audience are going to see you from all angles,

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'so you just have to be absolutely wonderful whichever way you turn.'

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So get nice length.

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She gave me a few tips on trying to lengthen my body,

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lengthen my arms and legs.

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It's quite insightful and hopefully will make me look less

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short and stubby on stage.

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Armed with advice from their mentors and with the category finals

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fast approaching, the dancers put the finishing touches to their repertoire.

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How does that feel?

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And with the all clear from his doctor, Akshay meets his

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mentor Mira for a last-minute workshop session.

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Akshay was very clear.

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He wanted to work on one specific piece that has a lot of jumps.

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We've worked on re-adapting to retain the dynamic quality

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of the jump, retain the feel of it,

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but not actually jump on the ankle he is injured.

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Are you OK with that?

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Yeah, but you need to programme your mind to do that.

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Re-adapting it kind of puts you off-balance because the mind

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plays horrible games, you know, as you are prepping for a performance.

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I have become super paranoid, I would say.

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Whenever I go outside, every step I take are baby steps.

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But also I'm doing exercises to strengthen my leg.

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It's just to make sure that on the day when I do half sits,

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which is essential in Bharatanatyam, I am able to feel comfortable.

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You OK?

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Despite the injury still causing some discomfort,

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Akshay is determined to continue in the competition.

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The Lowry Arts Centre, Salford Quays,

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and it's the day of the South Asian Dance final.

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With their mentors on hand, the dancers have one last chance

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to run through their programmes as they familiarise themselves

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with the space, lighting and television cameras.

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OK, OK.

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All they have to do now is to impress three of the UK's top

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South Asian dance experts.

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They are choreographer, performer and academic,

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Chitra Sundaram...

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In classical forms, we just don't have good and bad,

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we have right and wrong.

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So one of the hardest things to do is to be innovative

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and yet stay within the demands of the form.

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I will certainly be looking to see where that young dancer

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has found a little space which they've made for themselves.

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..Kajal Sharma, performer, teacher and leading exponent of Kathak...

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We have very strong technique in Bharatanatyam and Kathak,

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but actually, the inner dance is what I'm looking for.

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Their passion, their heart dancing with their body.

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..and our general adjudicator, judging across all four

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BBC Young Dancer categories, the critically acclaimed choreographer

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and dance producer, Shobana Jeyasingh.

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They've got to make sure that they are giving

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a very accurate reading of the technique.

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It's that kind of pull between how much you let go and invest your

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personality and how much you discipline yourself, so you

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can do justice to the very precise rules that you have to follow.

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So one of the things I look for is how far down that journey is

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the dancer.

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First to perform in this final, 21-year-old Bharatanatyam dancer,

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Akshay Prakash.

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Akshay is training to be a doctor in Romania.

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Whenever he's home in London,

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he takes time to practise his dance at The Bhavan Centre.

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The Bhavan is one of the largest institutes in the UK for

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classical Indian arts. It's been my second home.

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After I was born in hospital,

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I was brought to Bhavan by my parents.

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And I've been dancing since I was four, five.

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HE SPEAKS HIS OWN LANGUAGE

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Akshay studies Bharatanatyam under his father, the renowned guru

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Sri Prakash Vadagudde,

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who has been teaching at The Bhavan for over 35 years.

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He's very hard-working,

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concentrating towards his dancing and dedicated.

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You can't come up in dance if you don't work hard.

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-HE SPEAKS HIS OWN LANGUAGE

-Take it easy with the right.

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I recently received an injury while I was playing football with

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a few friends.

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I've got a hairline fracture on my fibula,

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which is the side of the leg.

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My father and I have been working on strengthening my right leg

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and now I'm recovering.

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We've been incorporating different ideas into the dance that put less

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pressure on the right leg.

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I hope to graduate and then come back to the UK and then work

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as well as still learn dance.

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Hopefully, part-time dancer, part-time doctor,

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which is impossible, but it's something I hopefully can achieve.

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This is actually my first time during the competition.

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Usually I always do a performance for an audience

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who are interested in the art form,

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whereas in a competition, you are showing this to

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a wider audience who are not familiar the technique

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and the stories that you perform,

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so it gives me the chance to express the beauty of Bharatanatyam.

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With previous winner of the South Asian category Vidya Patel

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looking on from the audience, here is Akshay Prakash

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with a piece called Anjana,

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which tells the story of the monkey god Hanuman.

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UP-TEMPO MUSIC PLAYS

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In this piece, you are showing comedy, which is very unique,

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in a sense, because a lot of Bharatanatyam don't show humour.

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It shows three different characters and the dancer's challenge is

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to show those characters differently.

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SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC

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APPLAUSE

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For his duet, Akshay was joined by Sivahami Sivashankar

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to perform Sangamam.

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Akshay ends his programme with Shiva Stuti, a technical piece

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that conveys the abilities of Shiva, the God of Dance.

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CHEERING

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Akshay Prakash opening this South Asian dance final.

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You can see Akshay's and all of tonight's performances

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in full on our website...

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Akshay opened the evening

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on a very strong note.

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He's got a gift for being able to personify and embody

0:23:280:23:33

these big characters.

0:23:330:23:36

He really amazed the audience by doing this

0:23:360:23:39

incredibly fast piece of dance,

0:23:390:23:41

because he was able to be incredibly soft and graceful,

0:23:410:23:44

and then powerful with huge leaps which he controlled brilliantly.

0:23:440:23:49

I was really nervous for Akshay. We discussed he won't jump,

0:23:490:23:52

but of course, he did! And he was great.

0:23:520:23:56

I did a lot of moving, a lot of getting myself pumped,

0:23:560:23:59

just to build that adrenaline in my body and mentally discipline myself,

0:23:590:24:03

saying that everything's going to be fine -

0:24:030:24:05

"You're not going to feel any pain when you go on stage."

0:24:050:24:09

Next to perform, the first of two Kathak dancers

0:24:090:24:12

- 21-year-old Jaina Modasia from Watford.

0:24:120:24:14

MUSIC PLAYS

0:24:180:24:20

I've been dancing for nearly 18 years now, and I feel like

0:24:200:24:25

it has grown in me, so the older I have become,

0:24:250:24:29

the more aware I have become of how much I love it and how much

0:24:290:24:34

it's been a passion, not just a hobby.

0:24:340:24:37

If Jaina looks familiar,

0:24:370:24:39

it's because she was a category finalist

0:24:390:24:41

in BBC Young Dancer 2015,

0:24:410:24:43

when she was 19 and still studying at university.

0:24:430:24:46

I've had a lot going on in my life, so my focus was trying to

0:24:480:24:52

balance the two, whereas now, dance is my sole purpose.

0:24:520:24:57

She's done it once, so she knows how tough it is,

0:24:580:25:01

but at the same time, it will help her that she has been there once.

0:25:010:25:05

Away from dance, a healthy rivalry with her sports-mad brother

0:25:060:25:10

helps keep Jaina on her toes.

0:25:100:25:12

We do spend a lot of time together,

0:25:140:25:15

and he's very much into his fitness as well, so when we're

0:25:150:25:19

both up for it, we do go for an occasional badminton match.

0:25:190:25:23

I think she should just stick to dancing, to be honest.

0:25:240:25:27

Remember, wrists. That's it, better.

0:25:270:25:29

Yes!

0:25:300:25:32

'Jaina's definitely got a competitive spirit about her,

0:25:320:25:34

'on the court, off the court.'

0:25:340:25:36

She's been doing really well in dance since she was a small kid,

0:25:360:25:39

but she's always had that little spirit about her

0:25:390:25:42

that she wants to improve.

0:25:420:25:43

That's better. 'She wants to be the best at everything.

0:25:430:25:46

'She tries to be the best at badminton,'

0:25:460:25:47

even though she might not be as good as me, but no, that's fine.

0:25:470:25:51

'He does support me a lot.

0:25:510:25:52

'He always tells me, "Oh, aren't you meant to be dancing?"

0:25:520:25:54

'He knows that when I am sitting in front of the TV,'

0:25:540:25:57

I'm not meant to be. So, yeah,

0:25:570:25:59

he really does give me that kind of motivation to get up and go.

0:25:590:26:03

For me to get through to the Grand Finals would mean the world.

0:26:050:26:09

That IS my aim. I'm aiming very high.

0:26:090:26:12

No, but I would love to represent South Asian dance and I think

0:26:120:26:16

I would give it my blood, sweat and tears to do.

0:26:160:26:20

Jaina begins her performance with a piece entitled In Akbar's Palace.

0:26:200:26:24

It's a very technical piece. It's in teental, a 16-beat cycle,

0:26:270:26:33

and it's got a lot of spins, chakkars.

0:26:330:26:36

It's got a lot of fast footwork,

0:26:360:26:38

and obviously using our hands to create those lines.

0:26:380:26:43

FAST-PACED SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC

0:26:450:26:48

CHEERING

0:28:200:28:22

Jaina's duet, Seven Heaven, was choreographed by her teacher

0:28:280:28:32

Sujata Banerjee, and is performed with Peter Camilleri.

0:28:320:28:35

GENTLE SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC

0:28:370:28:40

For her final solo, Jaina performs Krishna,

0:28:540:28:57

a piece more traditionally associated

0:28:570:28:59

with the Bharatanatyam style.

0:28:590:29:01

I'm playing Lord Krishna's mother, Yashoda,

0:29:020:29:06

showing the love that a mum has for her son.

0:29:060:29:09

The way she plays with him, how she feeds him,

0:29:090:29:13

and within that I show the other aspect of a mother,

0:29:130:29:16

where she's hard-working - she's doing some housework and stuff.

0:29:160:29:20

SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC

0:29:230:29:26

CHEERING

0:31:100:31:11

You couldn't help being drawn to her just because of

0:31:170:31:20

her personality, and she has a huge stage presence.

0:31:200:31:23

I thought it was quite courageous of her to perform

0:31:230:31:26

a very popular piece from the Bharatanatyam repertoire.

0:31:260:31:30

It was lovely to watch her explore that in Kathak

0:31:300:31:33

without losing her form.

0:31:330:31:35

Overall, I'm pleased.

0:31:350:31:37

Regardless of not getting it or getting it,

0:31:370:31:40

hopefully I did Kathak justice.

0:31:400:31:43

Still to come - 19-year-old Shyam Dattani...

0:31:450:31:47

..and 20-year-old Anjelli Wignakumar.

0:31:480:31:51

But first, it's 19-year-old Anaya Bolar from Birmingham.

0:31:540:31:57

Anaya is the second of three Bharathanatyam dancers

0:32:000:32:03

competing in this category final.

0:32:030:32:06

I have been dancing for...15 years.

0:32:060:32:10

It's something I was always surrounded by,

0:32:100:32:12

especially my mother being my teacher, so it's kind of got

0:32:120:32:16

to the point where it's something I can't quite live without.

0:32:160:32:20

I especially love the storytelling aspects of my art form,

0:32:200:32:25

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

0:32:250:32:29

Anaya also made it through to the category finals of

0:32:310:32:34

BBC Young Dancer back in 2015,

0:32:340:32:36

and decided she wanted to compete again.

0:32:360:32:39

Last time, I was always questioning myself and what I wanted to do,

0:32:390:32:44

whether I wanted to be a physiotherapist or

0:32:440:32:48

if I wanted to be a full-time dancer.

0:32:480:32:50

I realised that dance is something I'm very, very passionate about,

0:32:500:32:54

and it's something I DO want to pursue,

0:32:540:32:57

so I have been working very hard these past few months

0:32:570:33:01

to really improve myself.

0:33:010:33:03

I've improved my style, improved my steps.

0:33:030:33:07

She wants it this time.

0:33:070:33:09

She's putting a lot of hours in on her own.

0:33:090:33:12

She's not there yet,

0:33:120:33:13

but I can see that she's very confident and very committed.

0:33:130:33:18

I've been working on being more calm on stage and not looking

0:33:180:33:22

so tense, which is an old habit of mine.

0:33:220:33:25

I'm just nervous and actually super-pumped.

0:33:260:33:30

SHE EXHALES AND LAUGHS NERVOUSLY

0:33:300:33:32

But I'm using that kind of nervousness,

0:33:320:33:34

that "Oh, there are going to be judges there"

0:33:340:33:36

to really push myself a lot harder.

0:33:360:33:38

Anaya's first piece tells the story of

0:33:400:33:42

a fateful game of dice between rival cousins, and involves Draupadi,

0:33:420:33:46

one of the key female characters from the Hindu epic The Mahabharata.

0:33:460:33:49

HIGH-TEMPO SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC

0:33:520:33:55

The main thing in this dance is I'm playing multiple characters,

0:33:560:34:00

so the most fun part is changing from different characters.

0:34:000:34:04

Anaya also performed a technical piece called Chattarang.

0:35:230:35:26

For her duet, Anaya presented a new work,

0:35:520:35:55

choreographed by Subhash Viman Gorania.

0:35:550:35:58

It features contemporary dancer Kaine Ward and is titled Woven.

0:35:580:36:03

I've never worked with a giant piece of rope, so when our choreographer

0:36:030:36:06

said, "Just wrap it round you and now pull it from her and spin."

0:36:060:36:11

And at first you're like, "Eh, this is slightly terrifying."

0:36:110:36:15

On top of that, doing a lot more contact work

0:36:150:36:17

is something I've never done before,

0:36:170:36:19

so when we were being introduced to that

0:36:190:36:22

in the choreography, I was like, "OK! This is new."

0:36:220:36:26

But eventually, you just grow to love it.

0:36:260:36:30

DREAMY MUSIC

0:36:320:36:34

Anaya Bolar and her duet partner Kaine Ward.

0:39:050:39:08

She stood out.

0:39:130:39:14

Full of technicality, beautiful stances, hand movements -

0:39:140:39:18

strong contestant.

0:39:180:39:20

The piece I really thought she came into her own in was Woven.

0:39:200:39:26

She took it to the next level.

0:39:260:39:28

I would say that was the highlight of tonight's competition.

0:39:280:39:32

All those rehearsals and all the fears I had of things

0:39:320:39:36

going wrong, and then when we finally got to do it,

0:39:360:39:39

I was so happy. It was so satisfying.

0:39:390:39:41

Next to perform in this final,

0:39:430:39:45

19-year-old Kathak dancer Shyam Dattani from Middlesex.

0:39:450:39:49

Shyam has been busy working with his teacher Urja Thakore

0:39:540:39:58

on three Kathak pieces he hopes will demonstrate his passion

0:39:580:40:01

for the dance form.

0:40:010:40:02

I feel like Kathak is the truest expression of myself,

0:40:020:40:06

where I can come out the most and express my inner feelings.

0:40:060:40:10

It's also something I can share with people so easily.

0:40:100:40:13

It's the best way for me to show my feelings.

0:40:130:40:16

You're holding the Earth. Earth cannot be...

0:40:160:40:18

'The important thing Shyam needs to needs to remember is focusing'

0:40:180:40:21

on his strengths, but at the same time, he needs to calm down.

0:40:210:40:24

He gets really excited

0:40:240:40:26

and he can overdo certain things.

0:40:260:40:28

I think I've told him this thousands of times.

0:40:280:40:31

I'm saying it now on camera, so hopefully he'll listen!

0:40:310:40:35

CHOIR SINGS

0:40:360:40:38

Shyam regularly attends

0:40:410:40:43

the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple in Watford.

0:40:430:40:47

In the run-up to this final,

0:40:470:40:48

it offers him a chance to escape the intensity of rehearsals.

0:40:480:40:52

I just love going there because it's such a serene setting,

0:40:540:40:57

and it's somewhere where I can take a break from the craziness

0:40:570:41:02

that is normal day-to-day life.

0:41:020:41:04

'I have a group of five best friends,

0:41:060:41:08

'and I would not have met them if I hadn't gone to the manor.'

0:41:080:41:10

When I was applying to university last year, they said,

0:41:100:41:13

"No, Shyam, you should just follow your passion,"

0:41:130:41:16

and after a year I realised what they were saying was true.

0:41:160:41:19

So it's actually down to them that I'm on this journey.

0:41:190:41:23

We always kind of knew that Shyam was

0:41:230:41:25

a dancer and we really appreciate that

0:41:250:41:27

he is passionate about what he does. It's nice to see.

0:41:270:41:31

In the last week of preparation I've been trying to hone in

0:41:330:41:36

to what Sonia was saying in our workshops about trying to push

0:41:360:41:40

the boundaries of my dance.

0:41:400:41:42

I remember she gave me this analogy of

0:41:420:41:45

a bubble and saying I should always be trying to pop that bubble.

0:41:450:41:48

Really stretching my arms out, using the space,

0:41:480:41:51

and I've been really trying to focus on that.

0:41:510:41:53

CHEERING

0:41:530:41:55

Shyam's first dance is Udaan, which literally means "to fly."

0:41:550:41:59

It's a technical piece and it involves a lot of pirouettes,

0:42:010:42:06

a lot of footwork. Intricate timing, playing with the 14-beat time cycle.

0:42:060:42:11

And I really want myself to come out on stage as I am

0:42:110:42:16

as a person and really enjoy it.

0:42:160:42:18

FAST-PACED SOUTH ASIAN MUSIC

0:42:200:42:22

CHEERING

0:43:510:43:53

For his duet, Shyam was joined by Ishira Shah to perform Yamal.

0:43:550:44:00

Shyam's final piece is Ganesh Vandana,

0:44:390:44:42

which demonstrates the devotional aspect of Kathak,

0:44:420:44:45

paying homage to a deity.

0:44:450:44:48

Mine is the god Ganesha, who is a remover of obstacles,

0:44:480:44:51

and I'm really trying to show myself

0:44:510:44:54

as a devotee and really submit myself to Ganesha in the piece.

0:44:540:44:58

MUSIC: Vigneshwara Dharani Dhara by Suresh Wadkar

0:44:580:45:02

I'm looking for someone who is totally involved.

0:47:020:47:06

I found that in Shyam.

0:47:060:47:08

He had a very good blend of the soft and the powerful,

0:47:080:47:13

and he really took command of the space and covered it

0:47:130:47:17

in a very masterful way.

0:47:170:47:19

I'm really happy with my second solo. I really think I brought

0:47:190:47:22

the devotional atmosphere to the auditorium, and I'm really hoping

0:47:220:47:26

that the judges were moved by, as much as I am, by this piece.

0:47:260:47:30

Last to perform in this final, 20-year-old Bharatanatyam dancer,

0:47:320:47:36

Anjelli Wignakumar from Harrow.

0:47:360:47:38

At the moment, I'm at Imperial College studying medicine,

0:47:430:47:46

and I'm in my third year now.

0:47:460:47:49

It is quite intense, it's quite stressful sometimes,

0:47:490:47:52

but it's what I've wanted to do for so long,

0:47:520:47:54

and I really, really do enjoy it.

0:47:540:47:57

Hopefully, one day, I actually graduate, become a doctor.

0:47:570:48:01

That would be good.

0:48:010:48:03

Despite the pressures of full-time medical studies,

0:48:030:48:06

Anjelli's love of dance means that it remains a huge part of her life.

0:48:060:48:10

I've just never considered not dancing. It's so lovely

0:48:100:48:14

to just escape everything and express yourself through

0:48:140:48:17

movement and through acting.

0:48:170:48:20

Rehearsals have been more about how we can get it really sharp

0:48:200:48:24

and precise.

0:48:240:48:25

Things like keeping your central core all together

0:48:250:48:29

and making sure that your limbs are kind of flowing from your core.

0:48:290:48:34

It's important when you're performing because you want it

0:48:340:48:37

to look elegant, you want it to look graceful.

0:48:370:48:39

Go with the flow of the music. Keep singing inside.

0:48:390:48:43

Absolutely vital.

0:48:430:48:44

I always insist on how to perform for the music.

0:48:440:48:49

It's not just moving the body and arms.

0:48:490:48:51

It should come from within.

0:48:510:48:52

It requires a great degree of passion.

0:48:520:48:55

You can see that when she performs.

0:48:560:48:58

When Anjelli needs a break from all her studies,

0:49:010:49:03

she heads for the hockey pitch with her medic teammates.

0:49:030:49:06

One, two, three!

0:49:060:49:07

-ALL:

-ICMF!

0:49:070:49:09

A few of them have actually come to performances,

0:49:090:49:11

and it's nice because they've never seen that kind of dance before.

0:49:110:49:15

All in the car, going, "What are we going to see?"

0:49:150:49:17

And then her costume was all amazing, and...

0:49:170:49:20

The music as well. There was, like, a live orchestra.

0:49:200:49:23

-It was really incredible.

-Yeah.

-We'll be supporting her

0:49:230:49:25

the whole way. We're all really proud of her.

0:49:250:49:28

Yeah.

0:49:300:49:31

Where you're standing now.

0:49:310:49:33

The preparation's been quite intense. Just sort of working

0:49:330:49:36

on finer details, but also thinking about basics - keeping lines clean

0:49:360:49:41

and trying to show off your unique points.

0:49:410:49:43

But I'm also working with live musicians

0:49:430:49:45

and I really feel like you can feel their energy and bounce off that.

0:49:450:49:50

I just kind of hope that what I've been doing in rehearsals

0:49:500:49:53

comes up on stage and it all goes well.

0:49:530:49:56

Anjelli's first piece is a homage

0:49:570:50:00

to the grand lord of dance, Shiva.

0:50:000:50:02

I have to switch between pretending to be Lord Shiva

0:50:060:50:09

and the narrator of the dance.

0:50:090:50:12

Getting the change slick and convincing, it's quite difficult.

0:50:120:50:16

The differences are quite subtle.

0:50:160:50:18

But I've been trying to work on it

0:50:180:50:19

and hopefully it sort of comes across.

0:50:190:50:22

MUSIC

0:50:220:50:26

APPLAUSE

0:52:080:52:10

Anjelli's duet piece was performed with Piriyanga Kesavan.

0:52:150:52:20

MUSIC

0:52:200:52:22

To end, Anjelli performs Javali,

0:52:510:52:54

which tells of the love between Radha and Krishna.

0:52:540:52:57

I'm actually a friend of Radha, and I'm just explaining how lovesick

0:52:570:53:01

she is at the moment due to their separation.

0:53:010:53:04

Because the overall mood of the piece is quite sad, I've got

0:53:040:53:07

to be able to maintain that level of sorrow throughout the piece.

0:53:070:53:11

MUSIC

0:53:110:53:14

Anjelli Wignakumar bringing this South Asian dance final to a close.

0:54:400:54:45

And if you'd like to see all of tonight's performances in full,

0:54:450:54:49

you'll find them on our website...

0:54:490:54:51

Anjelli opened with a very stunning piece on the god Shiva.

0:54:560:55:00

Beautiful poses, well held, very, very strong.

0:55:000:55:04

And it was, I think, her piece of the evening.

0:55:040:55:08

You know, you really felt her confidence and her kind of

0:55:080:55:10

mastery of technique.

0:55:100:55:12

When I finished, and I heard the audience applauding,

0:55:120:55:15

it was just really nice because it means that someone out there

0:55:150:55:18

in the audience, at least even one person, appreciated it.

0:55:180:55:20

So it's just nice to hear.

0:55:200:55:22

Now, before we hear the result, here are the judges with their

0:55:230:55:26

thoughts on the dancers in this final.

0:55:260:55:29

It was a tough decision because they had pushed themselves and

0:55:290:55:33

entertained us and impressed us.

0:55:330:55:36

Believe me, it was very difficult for all of us to decide

0:55:360:55:39

because the standard was very high.

0:55:390:55:42

Everyone was competing in some bits better than others.

0:55:420:55:46

Every single dancer was extremely talented.

0:55:460:55:50

You know, in a way, it's a bit sad that one has to choose one,

0:55:500:55:53

but, you know, they all had the quality of winners, I think.

0:55:530:55:57

And here to announce the winner, Shobana Jeyasingh.

0:56:020:56:06

Hello, everyone.

0:56:060:56:07

I hope you had a wonderful evening.

0:56:070:56:10

Myself and my fellow judges, Chitra and Kajal, certainly have.

0:56:100:56:14

I really want to totally congratulate all the young

0:56:140:56:18

dancers who we saw here today. Who...

0:56:180:56:21

APPLAUSE

0:56:210:56:23

..you know, who have shown such single-mindedness,

0:56:260:56:30

dedication and perseverance.

0:56:300:56:33

So, anyway, here's the moment that we've all been waiting for.

0:56:330:56:36

So the winner of the BBC Young Dancer 2017 South Asian

0:56:360:56:42

dance final is...

0:56:420:56:44

Shyam Dattani.

0:56:450:56:46

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:56:460:56:48

Shyam had a really special quality to him.

0:57:070:57:09

More than anything else, he looked as if he owned the material,

0:57:090:57:14

that he owned the technique.

0:57:140:57:16

And so you kind of just enjoyed looking at him as a performer.

0:57:160:57:19

Shyam's dance was more like personification of his dedication.

0:57:210:57:27

He was not dancing to please someone,

0:57:270:57:30

he was dancing very naturally.

0:57:300:57:33

-And he had command.

-There was a very strong technique.

0:57:330:57:37

Very strong partner work.

0:57:370:57:39

Good relationship with the audience, as I felt as an audience member

0:57:400:57:45

how I was being drawn into his work.

0:57:450:57:47

And that's what made him stand out for me.

0:57:470:57:50

CHEERING

0:57:500:57:52

I'm speechless. Honestly, I genuinely didn't think that this would happen, and I'm really

0:57:520:57:58

honoured that I'm able to represent South Asian dance in this way.

0:57:580:58:02

Competing with other dancers is out of this world.

0:58:040:58:08

It's a dream come true.

0:58:080:58:09

Shyam Dattani, winner of the South Asian dance final. Huge congratulations to him.

0:58:110:58:16

Next week we arrive at the last of our category finals,

0:58:160:58:18

where five dancers compete for the contemporary title.

0:58:180:58:22

We'll also discover who's been selected as the wild card

0:58:220:58:25

from across all four categories, giving us the full line-up

0:58:250:58:28

for the grand final of BBC Young Dancer 2017.

0:58:280:58:32

There's no rules with contemporary dance, really.

0:58:370:58:40

Every time I feel the need to let it all out, I just dance.

0:58:400:58:43

I'm just excited, I'm nervous, I can feel it building up.

0:58:430:58:48

Being down to the last five is a huge honour.

0:58:480:58:53

It's an incredible experience and one that is very hard to put

0:58:530:58:56

into words, I think.

0:58:560:58:57

It's about a minute before the performance and I'm thinking,

0:58:570:59:00

"Is it too late to do a runner?"

0:59:000:59:02

The series continues with the South Asian dance final, as another five aspiring dancers compete for the category title at The Lowry, Salford, presented by Anita Rani.

The finalists in this category showcase two of the most popular classical Indian dance styles - Kathak and Bhatanatyam. Judging them is a panel of three of the UK's top dance experts: the choreographer, performer and academic, Chitra Sundaram; performer, teacher and leading exponent of Kathak dance, Kajal Sharma; and general adjudicator - judging across all four BBC Young Dancer categories - the critically acclaimed choreographer and dance producer, Shobana Jeyasingh. 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: Akshay Prakash, Jaina Modasia, Anaya Bolar, Shyam Dattani and Anjelli Wignakumar.


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