Nafisah Baba named as BBC's Young Dancer 2017
The winner of the prestigious prize has been announced.
BBC’s Young Dancer 2017 has been named as Nafisah Baba.
The contemporary dancer, 20, was crowned the winner on stage at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London by former Royal Ballet principal ballerina Darcey Bussell during a live grand final.
Nafisah, from London, fought off competition from four other finalists to win the title and was judged by a panel of dance industry experts.
She is a company member with post-graduate dance company Chrysalis London and an associate with Ballet Black.
Her winning performances included a piece that she choreographed herself called Inescapable, as well as two other routines – a duet with dancer Lois Wong called Deliverance which was choreographed by Jodie Blemings, and Near The Place Where Your Feet Pass By which was created for her by choreographer Laila Diallo.
Laila’s work was one of five pieces from professional choreographers created for the finalists which debuted during the BBC Two final which was presented by Strictly Come Dancing 2016 winner Ore Oduba and former Strictly contestant Anita Rani.
The other finalists were Shyam Dattani, 19, Jodelle Douglas, 21, John-William Watson, 18, and Rhys Antoni Yeomans, 19, who reached the final stage of the contest after being whittled down from a competition including 20 dancers aged between 16 and 21.
Dancers received coaching and mentoring from performers ranging from former Royal Ballet principal ballerina Viviana Durante, to hip-hop DJ and dancer DJ Renegade.
BBC Young Dancer 2015 winner Connor Scott returned during the final for a special performance and is currently studying at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.
Previous finalists’ successes have included South Asian category winner Vidya Patel who was nominated for two National Dance Awards and has been touring with the Richard Alston Dance Company, and Contemporary category winner Jacob O’Connell, who was selected to join Rambert.