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Student Sivani set for BBC Young Dancer show

Sivani Balachandran performing Bharatanatyam, a classical form of Indian dance


Press release issued: 29 April 2015

A University of Bristol student has reached the final of a new BBC award to find the very best of young British dance talent. Sivani Balachandran, 18, will showcase her skills in BBC Young Dancer 2015 which will air on BBC Four on Friday [1 May] at 8pm.

The Civil Engineering student has beaten entrants from across the country to claim one of five places in the final of the South Asian dance category.

Each category winner will progress to the grand final at Sadler's Wells, with the winning dancers in each category and two wildcards performing to compete for the first ever BBC Young Dancer title.

Following on from the huge success of BBC Young Musician, dance will take centre stage as the BBC works with Sadler’s Wells to find and celebrate the very best of young dance talent across the UK.

All dancers are aged 16 to 20 and are split into four categories - ballet, contemporary, hip hop and South Asian dance.

Sivani specialises in Bharatanatyam, a classical form of Indian dance known for its grace, purity, tenderness, expression and statuesque poses based on storytelling from Hindu mythology.

It was her teacher Usha Raghavan, from her dance school back home in Harrow, who encouraged her to enter.

Sivani explained: “I almost didn’t apply, but my dance teacher called my parents and they convinced me to give it a go. Initially we had to submit a DVD showing me dancing and 12 entrants were picked for the next round.

“We then had to give a performance and the final five were selected for the Category Final. It was only at that point that it became real and suddenly I was being filmed at University for the programme.”

On Friday evening, viewers will get an insight into Sivani’s time at Bristol University, showing her practicing in her bedroom in Manor Hall, Clifton, and studying for her Civil Engineering degree.

The competition itself involves Sivani being put through her paces at a workshop led by dancer and choreographer Seeta Patel, who is also one of the judges.

Sivani, who has been dancing since she was six, added: “I can’t reveal how I get on but I’ve certainly learnt a lot from the experience so far. I’m really glad I entered – it’s been incredible.”

The four category finalists and two wildcards will dance on the main stage at Sadler’s Wells on 9 May, in front of a packed house and a UK wide television audience broadcast on BBC Two.

The title winner will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and £3000 to help support and further their dance studies.

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