ENTERTAINMENT
23/05/2014 11:52 BST | Updated 25/05/2014 20:59 BST

Diversity's Ashley Banjo On 'Britain's Got Talent' And Setting The Blueprint For Future Dance Acts

Back in 2009 dance group Diversity blew everyone away with their bold style of dance by body-popping their way into the final of 'Britain's Got Talent', which they eventually won - despite stiff competition from a certain Susan Boyle.

But what have they been up to since then? HuffPost UK caught up with frontman Ashley Banjo about their new project, tour and 'Britain's Got Talent'.

diversity

Having just released a new advert, we asked if these new moves would be part of their upcoming tour?

"It didn't start like that but when we were making stuff up for the new Cadbury Marvellous Mix Ups advert we loved some of the ideas so much we are going to be incorporating them into our routine."

What do you think about the acts that are on this year's 'Britain's Got Talent' and do you think the salsa dancing granny has a chance of winning?

"The salsa dancing granny has been my favourite act for a few years now, she's brilliant! She's inspirational as well. I know how hard it is to dance at my age and how hard I have to work let alone when your body has gone through that many years of work. How she does what she does I will never know."

How do you think you have progressed since 'Britain's Got Talent' back in 2009?

I think in every single way... physically, mentally, in our careers... everything. We've grown up, the first time BGT came into our lives Mitchell was 12, he's 18 now and just brought a house and at the end of this year we're going on tour. We've sold out the O2 arena four times, so life's massively moved on from there. Plumbers, students and engineers that made up Diversity, now it's what we do for a living and we love it.

How do you think you fit into the entertainment world? What you do is so different but you get to meet and work with a lot of celebrities?

"A lot of our career so far has been less about doing the standard shows and more about carving out a path for people to follow so we hope there are dance groups in the future that have the opportunity to do what we do. But because there haven't been any before us there's been no set thing to do.

"When you get signed to a label you have someone in front of you like Beyoncé or Michael Jackson... they are always at these heights where you can say 'well I will follow in that path' and you know where you are going. With a dance group there is no blueprint, so we are kind of creating the blueprint as we go, and creating a good example for the next generation and a new Diversity"

Do you think the next generation of dance groups will be as successful as you and have the same level of exposure?

"A hundred and ten percent! I think its all in the mind. When we were growing up I never ever thought I would be saying to date, we have sold half a million tickets but it has become a reality, so all the kids growing up, it's no longer a dream - it's a reality they can achieve. Their dreams will be bigger than what we have achieved so we're setting a benchmark that can be beaten."

Can you tell us about your new project and upcoming show 'Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance' and why you were inspired by the Olympics to create this?

"Dance is an expression of oneself. It is an individual's interpretation of music and feeling. You can teach someone how to dance but not how to feel. Therefore dance is something that helps your mind to escape whilst keeping active and fit. Stockton Big Town Dance was the bringing together of a whole community of all ages from all walks of life to create one amazing dance.

Diversity

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