Ashley Banjo

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Ashley Banjo
Born Ashley Modurotolu Banjo[1]
(1988-10-04) 4 October 1988 (age 26)
Leytonstone, London, England
Occupation Dancer, television presenter, actor
Years active 2007–present
Known for Diversity

Ashley Modurotolu Banjo (born 4 October 1988), is an English street dancer, choreographer and actor. He is leader of dance troupe Diversity, who won the third series of Britain's Got Talent. Banjo is also currently a judge on the Sky1 talent show Got to Dance.

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Leytonstone, London, to a Nigerian father, Funso Banjo, a professional boxer, and an English mother, Danielle Banjo, a former Ballet dancer, who now helps with Diversity's management and also runs Danceworks Studios. Ashley grew up in Wickford, Essex with his younger brother, Jordan and his sister Talisa Banjo. He went to St Johns School in Billericay.[2] At the time of Diversity's Britain's Got Talent win, Banjo was studying physics and biology at Queen Mary, University of London having previously attended SEEVIC College.[2] Having completed his first two years, he took a break from studying to concentrate on his dancing in the year following winning BGT. He said that "from the age of 14, I started to teach myself routines".[3] Banjo has been in a six-year relationship with Francesca Abbott, who is a member of another dance troupe called Out of the Shadows. They announced their engagement on 2 October 2014.[4] He says that education comes first for him and he wants to be a scientist.[2]

Ashley Banjo is an Official Ambassador of the United Dance Organisation.[5]

Diversity[edit]

In 2007, Ashley and his younger brother Jordan formed Swift Moves with nine of their friends, before later changing their name to Diversity. He was given the nickname 'Chosen' by his fellow Diversity members. In their first year together, they won the Street Dance Weekend 2007 competition before deciding to enter Britain's Got Talent.

Britain's Got Talent[edit]

Main article: Britain's Got Talent

In 2009, Diversity won the third series of ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent. All the judges heavily praised their performances throughout the competition, with Ashley's choreography being described by Amanda Holden as "genius". In the final referring to their winning performance, judge Simon Cowell said "If I was going to give marks on that, that is the only performance tonight I would give a 10 to."

After receiving "yes" votes from all three judges in their audition, Diversity went on to compete in the first semi-final on 24 May, losing the public vote-decided first place to Susan Boyle but winning the judges' vote against Natalie Okri. In the final six days later, Diversity were announced as the winners, beating Boyle and Julian Smith (who came second and third respectively). As winners of the competition, Diversity received £100,000 (around £9,090 per member) and went on to perform before Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Show on 7 December 2009.[6][7]

Post Britain's Got Talent[edit]

Subsequently, Diversity were nominated in the Dance section of the final South Bank Show awards and won an award at the Pride of Britain Awards[8] He pulled a ligament in his leg during the 2nd run of diverisitoys which made him unable to perform on the last two shows of Diversity's Christmas tour. In 2012 Diversity did their first arena tour called "Digitized – Trapped In The Game". Ashley Banjo choreographed, produced and directed the tour. Diversity sold out the O2 arena with a standing ovation.

In 2013 Ashley choreographed a third tour for Diversity called Limitless. The tour ran from 30 November to 16 December.[9][10]

Got to Dance[edit]

Main article: Got to Dance

Ashley was a judge on Sky1's dancing talent show Got to Dance for all five series. Diversity appeared as guest performers at least once every series. In total they did nine performances on Got to Dance.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
2009 Britain's Got Talent Himself
2010 StreetDance 3D Aaron
2010–2014 Got to Dance Himself as a judge
2011 The Real Hustle Himself
The Magicians Himself
The Apprentice Himself
Text Santa Himself
2012–present Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew Himself
2012 Celebrity Juice Himself
The Cube Himself, won £20,000 to split between NSPCC and Beatbullying
2013 Stella Himself, episode 2.7
Celebrity Juice Himself
Jordan and Perri's Ultimate Block Party Himself
2014 Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance Himself
Stars at Your Service Himself
This Morning Himself
Release The Hounds Himself, winnings to be split between NSPCC and Beatbullying[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Search 1837 to 2006 – Birth, Marriage and Death indexes". FindMyPast.com. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Claudia Connell (1 June 2009). "Fame? I want to be a scientist! Diversity's lead dancer insists his exams come first". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  3. ^ McGarry, Lisa (24 May 2009). "Britain's Got Talent: Can Diversity Beat Flawless?". Unreality TV. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Ashley Banjo on twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.udostreetdance.com/weareudo/ambassadors
  6. ^ Smith, Lizzie (31 May 2009). "Dance group Diversity in shock victory over Susan Boyle in Britain's Got Talent final". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers Ltd). Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Leach, Ben (30 May 2009). "Diversity beat Susan Boyle to win Britain's Got Talent". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "Diversity nominated in Arts award". BBC News. 7 January 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "Limitless tickets". Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Limitless". Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Jordan and Perri talk about Diversity performances". Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Release The Hounds". facebook. Retrieved 24 November 2014.