Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2014 on 12:25 am

Yorkshire dancers take centre stage for Big Ballet programme

Big Ballet

Bradford’s Raj Parmar was selected for the show

A group of plus-size dancers from Yorkshire have won places on a three-part Channel 4 programme named Big Ballet.

It follows the troupe of 16 women and two men who are followed through auditions, training and finally taking part in a performance of Swan Lake at the iconic St George’s Hall in Bradford.

Ballet legend Wayne Sleep helps train the Yorkshire dancers, aiming to unlock the world of ballet for a wider audience breaking what he believes to be one of the biggest taboos in the ballet world: size.

It comes as no surprise as ballet dancers are typically sizes 6-8.

For Big Ballet, the dancers range from a size 12 to size 26.

Bradford’s Raj Parmar of Sunrise Radio and Spice Entertainment auditioned and was selected for the show.

He said: “Bollywood dance is my skill and having set up the norths leading Bollywood dance group Spice Entertainment over 14 years ago, and performed at hundreds of events since 1996, choreographed music videos and concerts for many major Asian stars, I saw this as an opportunity for personal development and have the opportunity to try ballet which is not showcased to the Asian community.

“I would like to see more people engage in ballet, as I don’t think they realise the amount of fitness and dedication that is required for it. I was drenched in sweat after 20 minutes. It’s hard work!”

Other dancers from Yorkshire taking part include accountant Emma from Barnsley, ballet and dance director Claire from Halifax, customer service manager Carol from Mirfield, boutique owner Donna from Wakefield, primary school teacher Emma from Liversedge, and RSPCA manager Stella from Sheffield.

Leeds was the region which brought in the most dancers, including dance teacher Mary, traffic warden Sarah, academy director Shona, and business mobility staff member Nicola.

Big Ballet will be aired on Channel 4 on 6 February at 9pm.

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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