A dance group who pride themselves on representing east London will perform live for the public vote on Sky 1’s Got to Dance semi-finals this Sunday.
Unity UK, the grime and street hip-hop crew, are hoping to secure a spot in the finals to be in with a chance of winning the £250,000 prize.
The 12-strong group of 17 to 25 year olds were put together by dancer and choreographer Tashan Muir, 25, from Walthamstow, in 2005. Tashan, who has lived in east London all of his life, also teaches Unity Youth, a younger crew who made it to the semi-finals of Got to Dance series one.
The piece Unity UK will perform on Sunday is called ‘The Hunger of East London’. Muir said: “It will show everyone how hungry we are to get into the final. There is more grime, more Kano, more tricks, faster routines, its going to be explosive!
“Grime originally comes from East London and so does Kano, so I wanted to add all of these east London elements together to create the ultimate representation of our culture.”
Molly Boulding, 17, from Swanscombe, joined Unity UK last year. She said: “When we found out we were through to the semi finals I cried, just the excitement of being told yes was amazing.
“I’m a little nervous for the show but all I have to do is make sure I do my best and make Tashan proud; then I know I have achieved my goal.”
Tia Anderson, 18, Bexleyheath, who has been with Unity since 2008, said:
“I feel extremely excited yet nervous about the semi finals as they are live, therefore anything could go wrong.” To ensure Unity get through to the finals everyone has sacrificed their social lives, she added: “We literally eat, sleep and dance at the moment and it’s intense!”
Boulding, who has been dancing since the age of 11, said the support has been amazing: “So many people of all ages, areas, races, genders are showing love towards Unity UK and we are very thankful for it.” Anderson added: “From receiving over 50,000 views on Youtube to people recognising us on the bus and asking for an autograph, it feels a bit strange, but it’s lovely to know that people understand and support what we are doing.”
The group train in Maryland, Stratford and Forest Gate. Muir said: “It’s very important for us to represent east London as we are there everyday rehearsing.
“Also with the Olympic games coming to our area, the whole world will be watching east London so we want the world to see what talent lies in the streets of Stratford.”
The judges were blown away by the group’s performance at the auditions, where they received 3 gold stars and a standing ovation.
Judge and front runner of dance group Diversity, fellow east Londoner Ashley Banjo, said at the audition it was an “original, brave concept” to do grime in this way. He added: “It’s not easy music to sit on. It’s fast, it’s tough, but you guys did it brilliantly.”
“I think as far as street goes, you are on a par with my favourite street dancers in this competition.”
Winning Got to Dance would set the company up for life, enabling Unity to open up their own studio, said Anderson. Boulding added: “To win the show would mean the world to us; especially a big competition like this, it would be a dream come true.”
Tune into Sky 1 at 6pm this Sunday to see if Unity UK makes it to the finals at London’s Olympia on March 3rd.