BBC Young Dancer of the Year

BBCyoungdancerwebsitecopy.jpg

Parbati Chaudhury is following the BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 competition for Pulse

BBC Young Dancer 2015

As the BBC turns its spotlight on the UK’s most talented dancers aged 16-20, I feel conflicted. I am sceptical about competitions and find reality TV pretty hard to stomach these days (yes that includes The Bake Off).

However, positivity is springing from this quest.  I am delighted to discover South Asian amongst the four categories alongside ballet, contemporary and hip-hop. The judging will also be excellent, with style-specific experts at each stage (South Asian: Akram Khan, Seeta Patel, Kamala Devam). Most encouragingly of all, the coverage of the Category Finals on BBC Four and the Grand Final on BBC Two will provide due exposure for forms such as kathak, bharatanatyam and odissi.

Aside from these promising aspects, I am particularly eager to see how the pas-de-deux performance is approached by the South Asian category entrants accustomed to solo presentations, and envisage potential for real experimentation. So despite my bitterness about missing out on a shiny trophy plus £4,000 towards further dance development as I am apparently over the hill, I applaud the BBC for recognising South Asian dance in an artistically demanding process. Let’s also imagine the triumph for the sector if a representative goes on to win the title.

As shortlisting gets underway, I shall keep the enthusiasm brewing in the knowledge that the breath-taking Carlos Acosta will be acting as official ambassador and hopefully be plastered across our screens in the New Year.

Parbati Chaudhury

Image: Seeta Patel demonstrates the finer points of bharatanatyam | Photo: Sanjeevini Dutta