Ashley Banjo is the leader of dance troupe ‘Diversity’, the group that won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 (deservedly beating Susan Boyle) and won the opportunity to perform for the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance. Since that he has been a judge on Sky 1’s ‘Got To Dance’. Diversity are Patron’s of Dance Aid (part of Hope For Children). They also helped publicise the Government’s ‘Change 4 Life’ scheme which promoted ‘Eat Well, Move More, Live Longer’.
Already I’m sure you can guess why I love these guys. They’re all young men who are in education or careers (IT Solutions, Bathroom Fitter etc) that came together to dance as a hobby. Ashley Banjo is the founder and choreographer of the Troupe and lead them to a spectacular victory at BGT.
But that’s not the only reason I love Ashley Banjo. He has a show called ‘Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew’, which effectively takes small groups of people with no dance experience and in many cases limited confidence, works with them for three weeks and gets them to do a surprise dance routine at a gathering full of their friends and family who have no clue what’s going on. He has worked with female Dinner Ladies who performed to their primary school at lunchtime, some Polo Players who performed at a Polo match meeting, and some young male action roleplayers who performed at an event designed to introduce people to role play (specifically table-top gaming.)
The reason I love this show is because you can see the personal journey his participants go on throughout the course of their time with Ashley. They typically go from being shy and having no rythmn to holding their heads high and being proud of their achievements, not only through dance but also in whatever it was they were doing before (e.g. role play or being a Dinner Lady) so the personal growth and journey is very moving!
With all the bad press young people get in our media these days I think they’re a fantastic, inspirational example of an amazing group of young people using their skills and talents to bring something really unique to British entertainment and make a positive impact on their communities. I feel proud that people like this represent my country and also my generation, and reckon that if you have a spare half an hour see if you can get the Secret Street Crew online, or check out Diversity’s amazing youtube videos!