Teenage contemporary dancer wins BBC dance show
A teenage girl who began dancing at the age of three has won BBC talent competition The Greatest Dancer.
Solo contemporary dancer Ellie Fergusson, 14, from Livingston in Scotland, was lost for words when she was named the winner of the show.
The programme has seen soloists and ensembles vying for the approval of a live audience and the public, and culminated with four acts in the finale on Saturday night.
Stars Cheryl, Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse and Broadway showman Matthew Morrison have not sat as judges, but nurtured and guided the chosen acts through the competition.
Mabuse was Ellie’s mentor and joined her on stage for a contemporary style duet in the final.
Afterwards, the Strictly pro said: “It felt like dancing with a professional.”
Following Ellie’s second performance of the night, Mabuse said: “You’ve touched all of us and you’ve absolutely touched me.”
She added: “You are amazing.”
In the moments after she was announced as the winner of £50,000 and the chance to perform on Strictly Come Dancing, Ellie said: “I’m speechless. It has been the most amazing experience of my life.”
Ellie triumphed over youthful girl ensemble KLA, contemporary duo Harry and Eleiyah, and young male pairing James And Oliver.
A profile of Ellie on the BBC website says: “She eats, sleeps and breathes dance. She trains every single night of the week after school for three to four hours at a time.
“Ellie began dancing at the age of three and remembers pestering her parents to take her to a local dance club.”
It adds: “She is a driven dancer and admits to training 24/7 – when she’s not at school that is – and wants to become a dance teacher when she is older.”
The first episode of the series, produced by Simon Cowell’s company Syco for the BBC, aired on January 5 in direct competition with The Voice on ITV.
First-time viewers were at first taken aback by the original format which saw high-skilled dancers voted down by an amateur audience.
It has been confirmed that The Greatest Dancer will return for a second series.