Sandra Dean - BACP Registered member

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Author (Amanda Green), Blogger, Life Writing Workshop coach, BACP Counsellor Dip., Aerial Photographer and Orangutan, Animal and Mental Health campaigner in Essex

Britain’s got talent – About Diversity from Essex

Diversity Dance Group

Diversity Dance Group

Diversity dance group
Diversity dance group

In the main photo:

From left to right at the back – Ian McNaughton, Warren Russell, Terry Smith, Ike Ezekwugo, Ashley Banjo, Jordan Banjo, Sam Craske, Matthew McNaughton. Then along the front are – Perri Kiely, Mitchell Craske and Jamie McNaughton.

……. Update on 9th December …..  Diversity performed at the Royal Variety Show in Blackpool on Monday 7th December 2009 as the prize for winning ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent show earlier this year.

After months of practicing their fantastic routine fit for the Royal audience, the day came to do it for real. Of course little Perri was flung around by the boys in true Diversity style.

Ashley commented “It was an absolutely fantastic evening. This whole journey has been incredible. To perform for the Queen was the crowning glory.”

“We really try to be good role models and part of that is because we all believe in getting our qualifications and the importance of education.

“Everyone has been so supportive, but my friends don’t treat me any differently.

“We’ve all still got our feet on the ground.”

The show will be broadcast on Wednesday, December 16, on ITV1, at 7.30pm, so don’t miss it!

The famous Opera singer Katherine Jenkins, US actress Bette Midler and singer Lulu were some of the other stars of the show.

Diversity are touring in Spring 2010, their first dates sold out in 24 hours, this meant that they added more dates.

….Update on 22nd November 2009 ………… Did you see them perform with the BBC newsreaders on ‘Children in need’ Friday night?  How cool are they!

….Update on 29th October 2009 ………… Diversity are performing at Lakeside, Thurrock, Essex – to get all the details CLICK HERE

….   Update on 17th September 2009 –…..poor little Perri failed to land an ambitious jump and landed in a heap on the concrete, when Diversity performed in Downing Street.outside Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official residence, number 10! He is alright though!

………….6th August updates ……..

Today (6th August 2009) Diversity have been in Covent Garden, London, performing and training 100 younsters from all over Britain.  This is a great opportunity for these youngsters, as they were given a dance routine, and they must learn it and perform their results altogether in a huge dance group – what a great idea – well done boys!  It was part of a campaign to promote Disney’s new boy-focused channel, XD, and Diversity were set the challenge by Disney XD to teach the young and aspiring street dancers an exclusive routine within a limited amount of time. It certainly pulled in a crowd, and turned out really well.

……………………… 9th June updates…………..

Diversity already have an invite to meet the PM – See the Sun’s news on this by CLICKING HERE

………………………….. 8th June 2009 updates …………………..
They were interviewed on the Martin & Su show at Essex FM before they won and Alex there was teaching them the ‘lawnmower dance’. It was very

amusing and worth a look and a listen…… CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN They told Diversity that ‘Essex is so proud of you’
The dance troupe – who beat favourite Susan Boyle to win the talent contest on Saturday night (30.05.09) – has revealed the tragic tale that inspires their energetic routines.
Choreographer Ashley Banjo, 20, said: “A close family friend had cancer and fought a long battle. Her name was Sylvia Lewis and she died in 2006. It was the first time we really came together as a group.
“The dance we did for our first ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ audition was inspired by her. When she passed away – that was how

this all started.”
Sylvia met the East London-based dancers through her model daughter, and quickly became a mother figure to all 11 members of the group.

Diversity win Britains got talent

Diversity win Britains got talent

Ashley’s mother Danielle explained: “Sylvia was like an auntie to the boys and they were really sad when she died. She’s the reason they got together, because it was so tragic and she inspired them.
“They didn’t mention it earlier because they didn’t want people to think they were after the sympathy vote. Sylvia gave them their motto – dream, believe, achieve.”
Diversity won £100,000 and will perform in front of Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Performance in December.
And they’re confident Simon Cowell will make them stars, although they admit it will be a challenge for him because “we can’t sing”.
“We can create our own path, maybe do our own show. Simon is already talking about the band opening the London Olympics, or to support Michael Jackson.”

Read more about each member on their dedicated page by clicking the links below:
Ashley Banjo – CLICK HERE
Perri Kiely – CLICK HERE

Ian McNaughton – CLICK HERE

Mitchell Craske – CLICK HERE

Terry Smith – CLICK HERE
Warren Russell – CLICK HERE

Sam Craske – CLICK HERE
Ike Ezekwugo – CLICK HERE

Jamie McNaughton – CLICK HERE
Matthew McNaughton – CLICK HERE

To see their performances click on the links below:

First Audition CLICK HERE (Utube opens in a new window)

Previous performances CLICK HERE (Utube opens in a new window)

Semi Final performance CLICK HERE (Utube opens in a new window)

The Final Britains got Talent – Diversity – CLICK HERE (Utube opens in a new window)
As well as winning over millions of viewers across the country with their inventive and impressive dance routines, Diversity have also bagged some very famous admirers – one of whom even wants them to come on tour with her. Kylie Minogue admitted at last night’s Glamour awards that she’d watched the boys perform and that she thought they were “amazing”. “While I was watching them I got straight on the phone to my choreographer saying, ‘Turn on your TV and watch these dancers, they are fantastic. They would be great on tour’,” she gushed. What with the Britain’s Got Talent tour, a movie in the pipeline and now this amazing offer, it looks like Diversity are going to be very busy boys indeed.
Britain’s Got Talent dance acts Diversity and Flawless have been signed up to appear in a new 3D film – the first of its kind in Britain. The film, entitled StreetDance, will be the first British film to be shot in 3D, and will also feature last year’s BGT winner George Sampson. James Richardson from Vertigo Films actually spotted both the acts at the UK Street Dance Championships last July, long before they’d appeared on the ITV talent show. “When I saw Flawless and Diversity last summer I immediately started talking to them about being in the film,” explains James. “I felt they represented the very best of British streetdance.” Auditions are still being held to find additional actors and dancers to take part, and filming will start in August. We think it sounds amazing!
Ashley Banjo (the 20 year old choreographer) and the group have developed in the dance studios (Dance works in New Road, Dagenham) owned by his mother Danielle (who trained at the Royal Academy of Dance) and his ex-boxer father Funso, who brought his sons up on Wayne Sleep’s Hot Shoe Show and a love of opera. Therefore, for Ashley and his brother Jamie dance has always been a way of life. “I was watching routines in my pram,” says Ashley. “It is more than a passion. It is who I am.” Ashley, a physics student, choreographs the group and has said, “From the age of 14, I started to teach myself routines and since then I’ve taken on the role of choreographer.”
Like many of the others, Warren Russell, aged 19, has been mocked by his mates for dancing but says: “It gives you such a break from everyday life. It lets out anger – and just shows who I am.”
Danielle taught them the basics of ballet, tap and jazz, and they went on to create their own style, Diversity like being unique. Ashley says: “Unlike America or even Japan, there’s never been a street dance group to follow in this country. There is no next step. We are one of the first groups to show it is a proper form of dance. We can set the path.”
1st JUNE – well, my latest research gives me a little more information. Ashley Banjo of London Road, Wickford, went to College at Seevic in Thundersley, which is where I went when I left school all those years ago – fancy that!
Talking to our local Essex newspaper (Echo) yesterday, Ashley said “I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for us, especially everyone in Essex. You’ve made our dreams come true.” Aaaww, how lovely! Ashley’s brother, Jordan, had to take his maths GCSE today at St Johns School in Billericay, as told by their Mother, Danielle. Good luck Jordan! That must be a shock after such an incredibly exciting weekend….. Jordan is due to start at Seevic in September. Ashley has to take his second year university exams in August, so it’s all go for the brothers.
On the Saturday night that they won, Diversity received 24 per cent of the votes, Susan Boyle 20.2 per cent and Julian Smith came third with 16.4 per cent.
There is a possibility that Diversity may support Kanye West in July in Hyde Park, but this is not confirmed, so let’s keep an eye out for news on that….. They are going to concentrate on the Royal Variety Performance and the Britain’s got Talent tour for the moment, and that is quite enough for now.
£150 a gig (in a local shopping centre) is the most they have been paid before their big £10,000 win on Saturday, so they sure have earnt it!
Diversity won Britain’s got talent – Susan Boyle coming second and Julian coming third – well done boys – you have now put Essex on the map in a wonderful show that has shown the World the diverse talent we have here.
They have been so popular and my website has been mobbed with people looking for info on them, so I am constantly updating it for you….

Diversity win Britains got talent
30th May 2009 – They have won Britains got Talent – Excellent!
On 30th May 2009, the Street dance group Diversity was crowned the winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent TV show in a shock victory over favourite Susan Boyle – to an audience of more than 18 million! Susan told them that the best people won.
They fell to the floor and cried in surprise when told of the win.
Ashley Banjo said winning the contest had “changed our lives”.
The group defied bookmaker’s predictions to win the £100,000 prize and the chance to perform at the Royal Variety Show in December.
Diversity were only formed in 2007, so this is an incredible feat.
Still shocked about the victory, choreographer Banjo said: “When you said our name, honestly I’m going to wake up in a minute.”
He also thanked everyone who had voted for the group.
After the performance, which included a cheeky reference to the judges’ buzzers, judge Simon Cowell said: “If I had to give marks on that, that is the only performance tonight I would want to give a 10 to.
“There was not a step out of place, it was sheer and utter perfection.”
Fellow judge Amanda Holden said Banjo’s choreography was “second to none” and that Diversity had blown rival dance troupe Flawless “out of the water”.
Throughout the competition the group had wowed the audience and received glowing comments from the judges, but the group was sixth favourite to win going into the final.
Just to recap – The group, aged 12-25 during the filming of Britain’s Got Talent, is composed of Ashley Banjo 20, Jordan Banjo 16, Mitchell Craske 12, Sam Craske 19, Ike Ezekwugo, Perri Luc Kiely 13, Ian McNaughton 25, Jamie McNaughton 23, Matthew McNaughton 16, Warren Russell 18, and Terry Smith 24.
Diversity reflect their name – a team of varying heights, looks and ages, they are built on the foundation of three groups of brothers and their friends, some of whom have been dancing together since they were toddlers.
See the updates of Britains got talent – all 40 semi-finalists – CLICK HERE
……………….Update on 24th May 2009…………………..
Well done boys for getting through to the top 40 picked for the semi-finals last night – look forward to seeing you on Monday!
…………………..Oh Wow, even more updates on the 25th May ……………- they got through to the finals with Susan Boyle – come on boys, you can do it! They are just so talented, seem such decent guys and are so unique.
The Liberty dance residents Diversity, who regularly perform at The Liberty, Romford have also held the title as the U.K. Street Dance Championships. They have also filmed with Universal Pictures.
Celebrity judges Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell were impressed with them from the start, commenting that they were ‘Genius’, ‘up there with the best dancers we’ve seen’ and ‘brilliant’ respectively…… that says it all.
Lorraine Kelly interviewed Diversity on GMTV and she loved them. “You have made my day unforgettable”, she said.
There are three brothers from Basildon Ian Mcnaughton, Jamie Mcnaughton, and Matt Mcnaughton, two brothers from Wickford Ashley Banjo and Jordan Banjo and two brothers from Dagenham Sam Craske and Mitchell Craske, as well as friends Terry Smith from Rainham, Perry Kiely from South Ockendon, Warren Russell from Dagenham and Ike Ezekwugo from Leytonstone.
26th April 2009
Wow, I was so pleased to see the London Auditons of Britain’s got Talent last night to find ‘Diversity’ from Essex performing. They are a street dance group, from all over Essex.

 (If anyone knows anything more about them, then please contact me or leave a comment at the bottom of this page)  In any case, leave your comments and good luck to them at the bottom of the page….I look forward to seeing more of these guys – well done!

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