Now in its third year as a category in the BBC Young Dancer competition, it’s almost time for the South Asian Dance Final to be shown on TV.
There are four categories in the competition – street dance, ballet, contemporary and South Asian – and the category finals culminate in one grand final. There has been some discussion about whether such diverse art forms are really comparable to one another, but what cannot be disputed is that the South Asian competition is not only a beautiful exposition of accomplished dancing, it’s also a heartening reflection of the vitality and vibrancy of South Asian traditional dance in the UK.
2015 saw the extraordinary Vidya Patel make it to the grand final – and she’s since gone on to great things, including working with one of the UK’s leading companies the Richard Alston Dance Company, as guest artist.
This year’s finalists practise bharatanatyam and kathak dance and many have trained under the tutelage of their parents – dance gurus in their own right.
The bharatanatyam dancers are Akshay Prakash, who also sings, and plays the Carnatic violin and mridangam; Anaya Bolar, who’s also studying Sports Therapy at university; and Anjelli Wignakumar, who’s been practising bharatanatyam for 15 years, and is also a medical student.
The kathak dancers are Jaina Modasia, who’s been practising dance since she was four, and trains with one of the leading exponents of kathak dance in the UK, Sujata Banerjee, also Vidya Patel’s teacher; and Shyam Dattai who began kathak dance at the age of two, and is pursuing it through full-time training.
The final will be judged by some of the leading lights of South Asian dance – choreographer, performer and academic, Chitra Sundaram; performer, teacher and leading kathak exponent, Kajal Sharma; and choreographer and dance producer Shobana Jeyasingh, who will be judging across the categories.
The BBC Young Dancer South Asian Final will air on BBC Four on Friday 7th April at 8pm. More information is here.
Posted on 2 April 2017
Photo courtesy of BBC Young Dancer.