Diversity (dance troupe)

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Diversity
Diversity 2009.jpg
Diversity in 2009
Background information
Origin London/Essex, England
Genres Street dance (popping, roboting, lyrical hip hop, contemporary hip-hop dance, breakdance, acrobatics)
Years active 2007–present
Associated acts Flawless, Out of the Shadows, Trinity Warriors, Boadicea, Little Mix
Website www.diversityofficial.com
Members Ashley Banjo
Jordan Banjo
Mitchell Craske
Sam Craske
Ike Ezekwugo
Perri Kiely
Warren Russell
Terry Smith
Past members Ian McNaughton
Jamie McNaughton
Matthew McNaughton
Ashton Russell

Diversity are an English street dance troupe formed in 2007[1] 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.

Diversity consists of friends from London (Leytonstone and Dagenham) and Essex (Basildon), including two 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.[2] The group, ranging in age from 18-29, 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. Founding members Ashton Russell, Ian McNaughton, Jamie McNaughton and Matthew McNaughton have left Diversity.[3] They are currently managed by Danielle Banjo, Ashley and Jordan's mother, and based at Dancework studio.[4]

Before Diversity: Swift Moves[edit]

Before Diversity most of the group belonged to Swift Moves or Swift Moves Juniors.[1][5]

As Swift Moves, they beat KI (the crew Marlon Wallen from Flawless was with) in 2005 during KI's second run to seven wins at The Jump Off where Swift Moves battled a total of four times.[6]

In 2004 Mitchell Craske appeared in the music video for Jason Nevins's "Im The Main Man".[7]

2007: Formation and early career[edit]

Diversity formed in 2007, although there were a few line up changes between 2007 and 2009 with Perri Kiely and Ike Ezekwugo joining the group.[8] Ashton Russell left the group before they entered Britain's Got Talent. He was playing the part of Michael Jackson in the musical Thriller live.[9][10] They won the Street Dance Weekend 2007 competition.[11][12][13] By the time they performed in the Street Dance Weekend as guests in 2008 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.[2] 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.[3]

2009: Britain's Got Talent[edit]

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 fan" 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,[14] Diversity were announced as the winners, despite Boyle being the clear favourite to win.[15]

Post Britain's Got Talent[edit]

2009[edit]

After winning the Britain's Got Talent, 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[16] organised by the UK Registered Charity, Hope for Children.[17] They performed at the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London on 5 July,[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

Diversity also appeared in the Gracious K music video "Migraine Skank" along with dance group Flawless.[21] In January 2010, Ashley Banjo appeared as a judge on the Sky1 reality show Got to Dance, alongside Adam Garcia and Kimberly Wyatt.[22] Diversity switched on Christmas lights at Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich on 5 November,[23] then in Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield on 6 November[24] 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.

2010[edit]

Diversity promoted street dancing with Change4Life in January as a means of getting kids and families more active.[25]

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".[26] 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

2011[edit]

Ashton Russell re-joined diversity.[10]

In July and August Diversity members Mitchell Craske, Perri Kiely and Ashton Russell along with fellow Dancework studio dancer Nathan Ramsey took part in the Born to Shine roadshow. At each show two of the four would perform and take part in a dance masterclass for children.[27][28]

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[29] and also a competition where the winners would meet the group on their next tour.[30]

In October the group performed at the Michael Forever – The Tribute Concert.[31]

2012[edit]

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 "Digitized – Trapped In The 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.[32] Later in the year they brought out their DVD of the tour filmed at the O2 Arena. They performed on the Royal Variety Performance 2012 with Spellbound, Stavros Flatley and Paul Potts.[33]

2013[edit]

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.[34] This was followed a few months later by their own show.

In spring of 2013 Diversity spent 2 months in Stockton-on-Tees teaching large groups of people to dance for the Sky1 show "Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance".[35] 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.[36]

In Summer 2013 Diversity members Jordan Banjo and Perri Kiely, hosted their own TV show Jordan and Perri's Ultimate Block Party where they transformed groups of young people (Swim Team, Youth Club etc.) into a dance troupe in only 2 days.[37]

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[38] and another on top of the O2 Arena in London for Nickelodeon’s Fruit Shoot Skills Awards.[39][40]

Diversity did their third tour called Limitless from 30 November to 16 December.[41] They performed one of the performances from the tour on Got to Dance at the start of the year.[42]

2014[edit]

In February 2014, Perri won the second series of Splash![43][44][45]

A new Diversity show called Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance (which has also been called The Town That Danced Again while in production) aired on Sky 1 in January and February.[46] Big Town dance followed Ashley and Diversity as they spent 2 months in Stockton-on-Tees trying to bring the town together through dance.

It was announced on 17 February that Diversity Members Jordan Banjo and Perri Kiely would be the UK hosts for Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.[47] Following the announcement Jordan and Perri spent a week in LA filming a number of adverts and video blogs which Nickelodeon showed on their UK channel and web site in the run up to the Awards.[48][49]

On 1 March, Diversity performed on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and announced that due to public demand a reboot of their Limitless tour would return in November 2014.[50][51]

Diversity performed with Little Mix during the final of Britain's Got Talent on the 7 June.[52] They had previously performed on Britain's Got More Talent on their own on 29 May.[53]

Members of Diversity have also done a number of adverts. Perri & Mitchell did ITV - Where The Entertainers Live in March.[54] Ash, Jordan and Perri did a series of videos for Cadbury Marvellous Mix-Ups in May.[55] Jordan and Perri did a number of videos and judging for British Gas Generation Green Energy Performance in May and June.[56] The pair also did a number of adverts for Transformers toys in June.[57]

Diversity appeared at Weston Super-Mare Beach Festival on 28th June.[58] They took part in Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park with McBusted on 6 July.[59] They also appeared at the Leicester Music Festival on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 July.[60]

Diversity took part in the closing ceremony of the first Invictus Games on 14 September.[61] Their set included the Corps of Drums from Her Majestys Band of The Royal Marines.

Tours[edit]

  • Britain's Got Talent Tour (2009)
  • Diversitoys (2010)
    • Diversitoys Christmas Special (2010)
  • Digitized – Trapped In The Game (2012)
  • Limitless (2013)
    • Limitless Reboot (2014)

DVDs[edit]

  • Diversity: Dance.Fitness.Fusion (2010)[62]
  • Diversity Digitized: The Live Tour 2012 (2012)[63]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b At-a-glance "Britains got talent finalists". BBC News Online. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  2. ^ a b McGarry, Lisa (24 May 2009). "Britain's Got Talent: Can Diversity Beat Flawless?". Unreality TV. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Palmer, Emma (22 May 2009). "Talented dance group visits sick children". Echo News UK. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Dancework studio". Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "'Diversity Juniors' vs Trial n Error Crew Street Dance Battle (The Jump Off 77)". Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Diversity Street Dance". Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Im The Main Man-Jason Nevins/ Funkrocker". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Step up challenge". Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Thriller live Review". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Ashton Russell". Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Smith, Lizzie (31 May 2009). "Dance group Diversity in shock victory over Susan Boyle in Britain's Got Talent final". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers Ltd). Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  12. ^ Leach, Ben (30 May 2009). "Diversity beat Susan Boyle to win Britain's Got Talent". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  13. ^ "Diversity Street Dance special guest performance 2008". Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (3 June 2009). "Susan Boyle could be in Priory clinic for weeks, says doctor". The Guardian (London: Associated Newspapers Ltd). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Brook, Stephen (3 June 2009). "Susan Boyle: press warned to back off Britain's Got Talent star". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Dance Aid
  17. ^ Announcement. Hope-for-children.org. Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  18. ^ "DIVERSITY added to Sunday line-up at Wireless". Wireless Festival. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  19. ^ "Disney XD Launches with Diversity/". tvguide.co.uk. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Diversity's Perri OK after fall". BBC News. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  21. ^ Gracious K – Migraine Skank (Official Video) – Out Now on iTunes. YouTube (3 September 2009). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  22. ^ To Dance-show.html "Banjo is plucked for Sky". The Sun. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2009. [dead link]
  23. ^ "In pictures: Diversity at Chapelfield". BBC News. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  24. ^ "Diversity switch on Meadowhall Xmas lights – VIDEO". The Star. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  25. ^ "Dance Group Diversity Team Up With Change4Life", MotleyHealth.com, 27 January 2010, retrieved 27 January 2010 
  26. ^ The Range – 'Diversity'. YouTube. Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  27. ^ "Born to Shine Roadshow Bristol". Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  28. ^ "Born to Shine Roadshow Buckinghamshire". Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "Street dance for Change". Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "Record your own dance". Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "MJ Tribute Concert". Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "London 2012 Olympic torch relay: day 65 - in pictures". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  33. ^ "Diversity perform on the royal variety show 2012". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  34. ^ "Got to Dance". Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  35. ^ "The town that danced again". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  36. ^ "Be part of the Secret Street Crew!". Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  37. ^ "Jordan and Perri Ultimate block party". Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  38. ^ "Diversity drop jaws at Danone". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  39. ^ "Diversity photos". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  40. ^ "Diversity facebook". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  41. ^ "Limitless tour". Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  42. ^ Diversity Tickets | London & UK Ballet & Dance | Show Times & Details
  43. ^ "Making waves!". Daily Mail (London). 20 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  44. ^ "Jenny Eclair and Diversity's Perri Kiely for Splash! 2014 lineup". Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  45. ^ "Diversity star Perri Kiely crowned Splash! 2014 champion". Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  46. ^ "Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance". Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  47. ^ "It's official! The fab @Jordan_Banjo & @realperrikiely are the UK hosts for the Kids' Choice Awards this March!". Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  48. ^ "Nickelodeon Blog". Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  49. ^ "Diversity's Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely to host UK Kids' Choice Awards". Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  50. ^ "Diversity Tickets and Dates". Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  51. ^ "Limitless - Reboot Tour 2014". Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  52. ^ "Little Mix-ing it up with Diversity". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  53. ^ "Diversity return to the BGT stage". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  54. ^ "ITV - Where The Entertainers Live". Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  55. ^ "Diversity show how you can mix-up your Saturday night with family and friends". Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  56. ^ "Generation Green Energy Performance". Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  57. ^ "Diversity's Perri & Jordan - Transformers Shoot". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  58. ^ "Music in Bristol: South West Live, Weston-super Mare beach, June 28/29". Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  59. ^ "Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park McBusted". Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  60. ^ "Leicester Music Festival Line-up". Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  61. ^ "Closing Concert Now Sold Out". The Invictus Games London 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  62. ^ "Diversity: Dance.Fitness.Fusion". Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  63. ^ "Diversity Digitized: The Live Tour 2012". Retrieved 21 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
George Sampson
Winner of Britain's Got Talent
2009
Succeeded by
Spelbound