Ashley Banjo Biography
Ashley Modurotolu Banjo (born 4 October 1988) is an English street dancer, choreographer and actor. He is leader of dance troupe Diversity, who won the third series of Britain's Got Talent. Banjo is also currently a judge on the Sky 1 show Got to Dance.
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He was born in Leytonstone, London, to a Nigerian father, Funso Banjo, a professional boxer, and an English mother, Danielle, a former Ballet dancer, who now helps with Diversity's management and also runs Danceworks Studios. He went to St Johns School in Billericay. At the time of Diversity's Britain's Got Talent win, Banjo was studying physics and biology at Queen Mary, University of London having previously attended SEEVIC College. Banjo has been in a six-year relationship with Francesca `Frankie ` Abbott, who is a member of another dance troupe called Out of the Shadows. He says that education comes first for him and he wants to be a scientist.
Ashley Banjo is an Official Ambassador of the United Dance Organisation. He will soon appear in Sky's
6 part series `The Town That Danced Again ` about Stockton , Teesside .
In 2007, Ashley and his younger brother Jordan formed Swift Moves with nine of their friends, before later changing their name to Diversity. He was given the nickname 'Chosen' by his fellow Diversity members. In their first year together, they won the Street Dance Weekend 2007 competition before deciding to enter Britain's Got Talent.
Britain's Got Talent Main article: Britain's Got Talent (series 3) In 2009, Diversity won the third series of Britain's Got Talent. All the judges heavily praised their performances throughout the competition, with Ashley's choreography being described by Amanda Holden as "genius". In the final referring to their winning performance, judge Simon Cowell said "If I was going to give marks on that, that is the only performance tonight I would give a 10 to."
After receiving "yes" votes from all three judges in their audition, Diversity went on to compete in the first semi-final on 24 May, losing the public vote-decided first place to Susan Boyle but winning the judges' vote against Natalie Okri. In the final six days later, Diversity were announced as the winners, beating Boyle and Julian Smith (who came second and third respectively).
As winners of the competition, Diversity received £100,000 (around £9,900 per member) and went on to perform before Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Show on 7 December 2009. Subsequently, Diversity were nominated in the Dance section of the final South Bank Show awards and won an award at the Pride of Britain Award. On the latest tour he pulled a ligament in his leg which made him unable to perform on the last two shows of Diversity's Christmas tour. In 2012 Diversity did their first arena tour called digitized: Trapped in a game. Ashley Banjo Choreographed, Produced and Directed the tour. Diversity sold out the O2 arena with a standing ovation.
Got To Dance
Ashley became a judge on Sky 1's dance show Got to Dance in 2010. The show is currently in its 4th series. Diversity appear as guest performers in the finals every year
INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEY
Not a lot of people know this but I'm very good at… science. I did physics and biology at university so if dancing wasn't my thing, I'd definitely want to be a scientist. I really like astrophysics and particle physics.
My best friend is… I have two best friends - my little brother Jordan and little sister Talisa. We're all very close.
My nickname is… Bish Bash.
The bravest thing I've ever done is… enter Britain's Got Talent. We'd worked for years and years and then your whole future comes down to which way someone votes on the night. That's scary.
My favourite TV show is… Got to Dance or Secret Street Crew. I know it sounds crazy, but I love watching my own shows because they're recorded in advance, so by the time they go out I've forgotten what happened.
My perfect evening is… just chilling out and having a house party, maybe watching a film with my girlfriend and my friends, and some good food.
My first kiss was with… I have no idea! I've kissed a lot of girls. I can't remember but I was young.
My biggest regret is… not continuing my ballet training when I was little, even though my mum was a dancer with the Royal Ballet. Ballet gives you a stronger technique, so I wish I'd kept it on.
The one thing I'd change about myself is… I'd make myself a little bit smaller so it's easier to dance. I'm 6ft 5ins and 17½st, so chucking myself around and doing somersaults is tough.
The best thing my parents taught me was… what we have for the Diversity motto, which is "dream, believe, achieve".
The first record I ever bought was… the Bad album by Michael Jackson.
It's not good for my image but I like… motorbikes. As a dancer, I can't afford to get injured, and bikes are pretty dangerous. But I'm a petrolhead so I can't help it.
My greatest weakness is… fatty food. If you put a pizza in front of me then, oh my gosh. I'm quite healthy most of the time so when I tuck in to that kind of thing - aah!
If I could pass any law I would… make tax voluntary. Or make it so that a percentage of tax should go to charity.
I drive… an Audi Q7 and an Audi R8 - a big one and a small one.
The shop I can't walk past is… Nando's. I'm an addict - I'm sure there's something in the chicken.
My perfect Sunday is… going training with the boys, then going to a beach to chill out and do some surfing. After that, I'd come home and do the house party thing with my girlfriend and my mates.
My favourite place in Britain is… central London. If I ever get time off to go shopping, I love going down to Oxford Circus and Piccadilly. I've been to quite a few cities now and I still think London is one of the most amazing places.
My last holiday was… to Lapland at Christmas with my family. I took my mum, girlfriend, brother and sister to stay at the Icehotel, which was really cool. It was about minus 30 outside but we slept in sleeping bags that were warmer and cosier than my normal bed.
The best day of my life was… being at The O2 on our last tour and walking out to a sold-out crowd with all my family and friends in the audience. That was a landmark we always wanted to achieve.
If I had half an hour left on Earth I would… probably dance. There's not a lot you can do in that amount of time, so I'd just do what I'm good at: have a good dance-off!
Author : Stu Walker