Diversity (dance troupe)
|Genres||Street dance (popping, roboting, lyrical hip hop, contemporary hip-hop dance)|
Perri Luc Kiely
|Past members||Ian McNaughton
Diversity are an English street dance troupe formed in 2007 and based in London. They are best known for winning the third series of Britain's Got Talent in 2009, famously beating singer Susan Boyle in the live final. They also won the Families United Positive Role Models at the Spirit of London Awards.
Formed in 2007, Diversity consists of friends from London (Leytonstone and Dagenham) and Essex (Basildon), including three sets of brothers and four other members. At the time they appeared on Britain's Got Talent some were still at school or university, while others had jobs of their own. The group, ranging in age from 17 to 28, consists of leader and choreographer Ashley Banjo and the following other members: Jordan Banjo, Sam Craske, Mitchell Craske, Perri Kiely, Warren Russell, Ike Ezekwugo, Terry Smith and Ashton Russell. One set of brothers have left which are; Ian McNaughton, Jamie McNaughton and Matthew McNaughton. They also have a Twitter account which was originally named "DiversityBGT", but was then changed to "Diversity_Tweet". They are currently managed by Ashley's mother, Danielle.
Before Diversity: Swift Moves
Before Diversity most of the group belonged to Swift Moves and then "Menace".
2007: Formation and early career
Diversity formed in 2007 although their were a few line up change between 2007 and 2009. By 2009 the group consisted of friends from east London (Leytonstone and Dagenham) and Essex (Basildon), included four sets of brothers and three other members. Some were still at school or university, while others had jobs of their own. The group consisted of leader and choreographer Ashley Banjo and the following other members: Jordan Banjo, Sam Craske, Mitchell Craske, Warren Russell, Ashton Russell, Perri Kiely, Ike Ezekwugo, Terry Smith, Ian McNaughton, Jamie McNaughton and Matthew McNaughton. Ashley grew up in Wickford, Essex with his younger brother, Jordan and his sister Talisa. He was studying natural sciences at Queen Mary University, after having completed his first two years, he took a break from studying to concentrate on his dancing. He said that "from the age of 14, I started to teach myself routines".
2009: Britain's Got Talent
In 2009, Diversity auditioned in London for the third series of Britain's Got Talent. Judge Amanda Holden said: "Just when I think I've seen it all, you came on." They received three "yeses" from Holden, Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell, and eventually progressed to the live semi-finals, where they opened the first show on 24 May. After their performance, they received a standing ovation from the audience and the judges, who all dubbed their performance "fantastic". Later that night, were in the top 3 with singers Natalie Okri and Susan Boyle. Boyle was revealed to have received the most votes and went straight through to the live final, meaning that the judges would choose between Okri and Diversity for the second spot in the final. Morgan and Cowell both voted in favour of Diversity - Morgan believed that Diversity had a better chance of winning the show and Cowell admitted that he had been "a huge fans" of Diversity from their first audition.
Following their performance in the final, Holden said she thought Diversity had "blown Flawless out of the water", while Cowell said that "If I had to give marks on that, this would be the only performance tonight I would give a 10 to." However, Morgan thought Flawless "just edged [Diversity]." They finished in the top 3 again, as did Boyle, along with saxophonist Julian Smith. In a shock result, in front of a record audience of 17.3 million viewers, Diversity were announced as the winners, despite Boyle being the clear favourite to win.
Post Britain's Got Talent
After winning the show, Diversity appeared on the US television news programmes The Today Show and Larry King Live to talk about their future plans. Diversity also became Patrons of Dance Aid organised by the UK Registered Charity, Hope for Children. They performed at the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London on 5 July, and appeared at T4 on the Beach on 19 July at Weston-super-Mare.
On 31 August, Diversity performed at Blackpool's Winter Gardens in a Michael Jackson tribute alongside George Sampson and Aidan Davis. This performance was on the same weekend as the World Street Dancing championships. They performed in London to launch the new Disney channel Disney XD. They also performed outside 10 Downing Street in front of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, during which Perri slipped and fell on his head after attempting a back-flip. He did not sustain any serious injury.
Diversity also appeared in the Gracious K music video "Migraine Skank" along with dance group Flawless. In January 2010, Ashley Banjo appeared as a judge on the Sky1 reality show Got to Dance, alongside Adam Garcia and Kimberly Wyatt. Diversity switched on Christmas lights at Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich on 5 November, then in Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield on 6 November then in Watford on 12 November.
On 11 November, Diversity conducted several hours of signing autographs and posing for photographs with thousands of fans at The Galleria Shopping Centre in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Afterwards, they hosted a prize-giving ceremony on stage and performed their "Michael Jackson" dance routine. They performed another Michael Jackson tribute at the MOBO award ceremony. Diversity "launched" Christmas at Lakeside on 1 November, where they took two members of the audience on-stage for a dance-off. There was a competition held in November, and a hundred people won a meet and greet with Diversity on 19 November at The Glades in Bromley. On 7 December, Diversity performed on the Royal Variety Performance, hosted in Blackpool and shown on ITV across the UK on 16 December. On the show Got to Dance Warm Up, they presented their Westfield Shopping Centre FlashMob, sponsored by T-Mobile.
The first dates for Diversity's spring tour sold out in 24 hours, which led to further dates being announced, the first being at the Manchester Apollo on 27 March. The tour centres on toys "coming to life". Diversity being the main toy as "Diversitoys", fellow Britain's Got Talent dance group Suga-Free as "the dolls", Aidan Davis as "Bionic Boy", and others. The group had also planned a tour at Christmas time, with a "Christmas twist".
The group teamed up with national retailer The Range Home and Leisure for a commercial to be shown in April and May, with the tagline "If you like Diversity, you'll love The Range". They also appeared in adverts for food for "great little ideas". Diversity appeared in the UK film StreetDance 3D, released on 21 May 2010, in which they starred alongside Britain's Got Talent 2009 finalists Flawless and 2008 winner George Sampson. They have also appeared on television and in magazines numerous times since they won the third series of Britain's Got Talent, and hope to do a lot more in the future.
They lent their names/act to DFS as a promotion tool, appearing in their advert. Due to phenomenal public demand, Diversity brought back their 'Diversitoys' tour in December with a Special Christmas twist 'Diversitoys Christmas Special'. just before their tour they brought out their own fitness DVD which was bought by millions. Their DVD is called Diversity Dance Fitness Fusion
The group did a number of TV performances including Britain's Got Talent, Got to Dance, Born to Shine and Red or Black. They also filmed the first series of "Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew". In September they supported the charity the Railway Children by producing a film for them and also a competition where the winners would meet the group on their next tour.
In October the group performed at the Michael Forever – The Tribute Concert.
The first series of "Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew" aired. In the show members of Diversity took turns to help Ash teach small groups a street dance. The group also filmed the second series of "Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew" during the course of the year.
Starting from March Diversity did their first UK Arena tour called Diversity Digitized: Trapped in a Game. They sold out the O2 Arena with a standing ovation from the audience. Shortly after the Digitized tour Ian McNaughton, Jamie McNaughton and Matthew McNaughton left the group. Diversity were among the many torch bearers in London's 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, completing their leg of the journey on 22 July 2012. Later in the year they brought out their DVD of the tour filmed at the O2 Arena. They performed on the Royal Variety 2012 with Spellbound, Stavros Flatley and Paul Potts.
Diversity are doing another tour, Limitless, in November and December 2013. They have already performed one of the performances they are going to do on the tour on Got to Dance. Tickets are on sale.
In the run up to the limitless tour the group did a number of performances including one at the Danone Nations Cup (a football competition dedicated to children) at Wembley Stadium and another on top of the O2 Arena in London for Nickelodeon’s Fruit Shoot Skills Awards.
In spring of 2013 Diversity spent a number of months in Stockton-on-Tees teaching large groups of people to dance for the Sky1 show "Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance". The second series of "Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew" aired at the start of the year. The group have also been working on a third series of Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew since April.
Got to Dance returned for its fourth series. As per previous series Diversity did a number of performance. The fourth series also saw Diversity members Jordan and Perri start hosting in their own right as they took on the role of the backstage presenters. This was followed a few months later by their own show.
Jordan and Perri's Ultimate Block Party
In Summer 2013 Diversity members Jordan Banjo and Perri Luc Kiely, hosted their own TV show on Nickelodeon where they transform a club (Swim Team, Youth Club etc.) into a dance troupe. They succeed with their parties.
Diversity new show "Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance" (which has also been called "The Town That Danced Again" while in production) will air on sky 1 from 8th January.
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- Palmer, Emma (22 May 2009). "Talented dance group visits sick children". Echo News UK. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
- "Diversity Street Dance". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Step up challenge". Retrieved 23 November 2013.
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- Dance Aid
- Announcement. Hope-for-children.org. Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
- "DIVERSITY added to Sunday line-up at Wireless". Wireless Festival. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- "Disney XD Launches with Diversity/". tvguide.co.uk. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- "Diversity's Perri OK after fall". BBC News. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Gracious K – Migraine Skank (Official Video) – Out Now on iTunes. YouTube (3 September 2009). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
- To Dance-show.html "Banjo is plucked for Sky". The Sun. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2009.[dead link]
- "In pictures: Diversity at Chapelfield". BBC News. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
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- "Dance Group Diversity Team Up With Change4Life", MotleyHealth.com, 27 January 2010, retrieved 27 January 2010
- The Range – 'Diversity'. YouTube. Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
- "Street dance for Change". Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Record your own dance". Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "MJ Tribute Concert". Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Diversity drop jaws at Danone". Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Diversity photos". Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Diversity facebook". Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "The town that danced again". Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Be part of the Secret Street Crew!". Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Got to Dance". Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance". Retrieved 6 December 2013.
|Winner of Britain's Got Talent