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Birmingham dancer wins BBC Young Dancer award


Nineteen-year-old dancer Vidya Patel, from Birmingham, has won the South Asian Final of the first ever BBC Young Dancer. She will join five other finalists who will perform on stage at Sadler’s Wells in the Grand Final on May 9, broadcast on BBC Two.


Vidya Patel

The BBC Young Dancer South Asian Category Final was broadcast on BBC Four on May 1 between 8 – 9pm, and, will be available to view again on BBC iPlayer. The South Asian Category Finalists were: Sivani Balachandran (18), Middlesex; Anaya Bolar (17), Birmingham; Jaina Modasia (20), Watford; Vidya Patel (19), Birmingham; Lakshmi Ranjan (18), London. All of their performances were recorded in March at The Riverfront in Newport.

The BBC Young Dancer finalists performed in front of a judging panel of leading dance experts: Padmashri Pratap Pawar, a leading exponent of Kathak dance, Mira Balchandran Gokul, Bharatanatyam dancer and co-Artistic Director of SANKALPAM, and Kenneth Tharp, Chief Executive of The Place, who judged across all of the Category Finals.

Vidya said “I’m really excited about reaching the Grand Final of BBC Young Dancer, and I can’t believe I’ve made it to this point. It means a lot to me because it’s the first time a South Asian dancer has been put on a platform next to styles like ballet, hip hop and contemporary. Being able to represent South Asian dance is a privilege: it is has a lot to do with my culture and traditions and where I come from, so I feel like I am representing that as well. I would love for people to become more aware of South Asian dance, because it’s very prominent in England but not as many people know about it.”

Vidya will join three other category winners from Ballet, Contemporary and South Asian dance along with two ‘wildcards’ at the Grand Final in front of a panel of leading dance experts: Artistic Director of New Adventures, Choreographer and Director Matthew Bourne, Artistic Director of ZFin Malta Mavin Khoo, Choreographer and Director Wayne McGregor, English National Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, Dancer and Choreographer Kenrick Sandy, and Alistair Spalding, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells.

BBC Young Dancer is also part of Get Creative – a year-long BBC celebration of British arts, culture and creativity in partnership with What Next.