Hatfield dancers through to The Greatest Dancer live shows on BBC One
PUBLISHED: 18:43 28 January 2019 | UPDATED: 22:28 09 February 2019
Two dancers from an academy in Hatfield are through to the live stages of a BBC One talent contest - after reducing one of the show's mentors to tears.
FK Dance Academy duo James and Oliver have reached the live rounds of The Greatest Dancer on BBC One.
Produced by Simon Cowell’s production company Syco, the new competition sees dancers of any age and style compete to win £50,000 and a chance to perform on Strictly Come Dancing.
Despite a small slip in their routine, James and Oliver’s stunning ‘Fraternal Dance’ wowed the studio audience in the episode screened on Saturday night.
Their emotional performance won a standing ovation from mentor Matthew Morrison, and even reduced the former Glee star to tears.
The American actor, singer and dancer said: “It was so incredible. I found myself obviously just really, really moved by that.
“I’m an only child but I always wished I had a brother in general.
“The comradery you had with each other – I know you guys are not related – but it was so beautiful to watch.
“And honestly, I loved the stumble that you had because it made you human and it gave you room to grow.
“It was such a beautiful routine.”
Fellow dance captain Oti Mabuse said: “That was spectacular.”
The contemporary dancers, who both started dancing at FK Dance Academy aged six, were then one of the nine acts called back to make the live challenge stages.
They will be mentored by Broadway star Matthew Morrison as one of his three chosen acts.
Kerry Newell, who runs FK Dance Academy, choreographed James and Oliver’s audition for the programme presented by Alesha Dixon.
She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I am extremely proud of the boys.
“They didn’t even know I’d put them up for the show, so when they were told they had been shortlisted to be seen, it was a real surprise.”
James, 17, who has been at the Hatfield Swim Centre-based academy since it first opened a decade ago, said: “I am amazed at what a good opportunity I have been given to be on TV and showcase what I can do, to possibly the whole world.”
The BBC YouTube video of their audition, which you can seen above, has already been viewed more than 300,000 times.
Kerry added: “Both boys want to be professional when they are older, so this is a great opportunity for them to show their talents and work with professionals within the industry and put all their hard work and training to good use.”
James and Oliver, 11, were part of the FK Crew from FK Dance Academy that was the guest act for dance troupe Flawless on their recent tour.
As well as the BBC One show, the duo are currently rehearsing for the That’s Showbiz finals in Liverpool at the Echo Arena, and the finals for Stars of The Future with their friends from the FK Dance Academy.
Kerry, who is an ex-professional dancer in the West End and on TV, said: “This is what teaching is all about and I am so pleased to see my knowledge and experience in the next generation.”
The talented Hatfield dancers have a brotherly bond, and Oliver looks up to James, seeing him as a role model.
“He inspires me to be as good as him and he’s like my big brother... but he does boss me around,” said Oliver.
In The Greatest Dancer, the fate of the contestants auditioning lies in the audience’s hands.
Auditions take place in a dance studio with the dancers performing in front of a mirror which has an audience on the other side, watching and voting if they like the performance or not.
To get through to the next stage of the competition, 75 per cent of the audience must vote to say they like what they see.
The mirror then opens and the three dance captains have to pick which ones will progress to the Live Challenge Shows.
When the mirror opened for them, James expressed gratitude to the audience for switching on their light.
He said: “It showed that they liked the dance.
“I was in the middle of turning, so one moment I was facing the mirror, the next I could see a thousand people!”
The pair are now part of Matthew Morrison’s #MatthewSquad along with 14-strong commercial dance group Company Jinks and street dancers Prospects Fraternity.
Strictly professional Oti Mabuse and chart-topping ex-Girls Aloud singer and former The X Factor judge Cheryl are the show’s two other dance captains.
The Saturday night entertainment programme is presented by Welwyn Garden City’s former Strictly champion and current Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon and Diversity member Jordan Banjo.
The first live episode featuring the final nine will be screened on BBC One on Saturday, February 2 at 7.30pm.
On reaching the live shows, Oliver said: “I’m just overwhelmed.
“I can’t believe it.”
• FK Dance Academy offers classes for all ages in various styles including street dance, ballet, tap and competition crews and dance companies.
For more information, visit the website fkdanceacademy.co.uk