This year's Britain's Got Talent was very inspiring, and it was fabulous to see dance fare so well in the competing rounds and, of course, in the final itself.
The fact that the final was watched by a staggering 13 million people, and included song, dance - and a dancing dog! - shows that the great British public still has an appetite for those kind of variety acts that used to be the mainstay of Saturday night entertainment.
George Sampsonwas a very worthwhile winner, with his fantastic, modern take of Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain. His surprise and delight at winning brought a tear to the eye - followed by yet more when he said he was going to use his £100k winnings to pay off his mother's mortgage.
But I loved Signature, with their innovative and energetic blend of Michael Jackson and bhangra. Suleman Mirza, a trainee lawyer, and Madhu Singh, a sales assistant, were just magic. And audiences were captivated by the performance of Muslim Suleman, who performs a Michael Jackson tribute act, and Sikh Madhu, who entered carrying a broom, and then let rip with some banghra. On a single day their BGT audition rerun on YouTube exceeded five million viewers.
And their story was inspiring too; as Suleman Mirza said in an interview in the Daily Telegraph, "Our routine is about togetherness and overcoming conflict. I start the act with a Western dance, and then Madhu comes on stage. I look down on him because I don't understand his culture. But he surprises me, and he works really hard, symbolising immigration, and then we work together, and show that everyone can get on."
I didn't see her myself on 'Britain's Got Talent' but I did catch 19-year old bellydancer Sophie Mei on GMTV yesterday morning. She came across very well - very smiley, down-to-earth and charming. Her dancing wasn't bad either. All in all, I thought she articulated the appeal of this dance form very well. And the judges obviously thought so too, as they voted her through to the next round.
So can someone tell me why some of the comments about her on the TV forums are so bitchy?
Last night was spent watching thirteen twenty-stone Russian ballerinas flinging themselves across the stage in a lively parody of Swan Lake. The company of XXL dancers, called The Big Ballet, then treated us to dances with a more contemporary theme; everything from 'Go West' by the Pet Shop Boys to Tom Jones' 'Sex Bomb', with a rather Boney M meets Eurovision final number entitled 'Moscow'. (When I tell you that the meaningful lyrics went along the lines of 'It's a place of mystery, it's so full of history', you get the picture.)
The company was created fourteen years ago by the Russian choreographer, Panfilov, with the aim of showing that 'people of larger build are able to move with similar grace, dignity and flair as traditional dancers' and also to prove that he could create a professional ballet troupe out of dancers with no previous experience. The company hails from Perm, a beautiful city with two million inhabitants in Russia's Ural Mountains which was also the home of Tchaikovsky and Diaghlev.