They have had to keep the biggest, best secret of their lives since April, but now dance group Academy of Base are shouting from the rooftops that they have made it through to the semi-final heat of Sky 1’s hit show Got To Dance.
Jade Wijaya, 22, from North Finchley, is one of the members of the boy-girl troupe and reveals that the excitement of the pending live semi-final, next week, is fighting for prominence with nerves.
“We’re having countdowns,” laughs the former Compton School, Woodhouse College and Barnet College pupil, “every day we’re like ‘it’s eight days to go’, ‘it’s seven days to go’. We’re getting more and more butterflies every time!”
Jade and her fellow dancers auditioned at the Roundhouse in Camden in April in what turned out to be a gruelling, 16-hour day, performing their minute-and-a-half set twice before being one of about eight groups and individuals from the hundreds that entered to receive a call back – to perform in front of the judges, former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, Ashley Banjo of dance group Diversity, and Australian actor and tap dancer Adam Garcia.
“It was amazing, a great experience,” says Jade, who met the other members of Academy of Base at their dance college, Creative Academy in Slough, from which she graduated in June.
“Each judge could only pick one act each from the whole day – and Kimberly Wyatt picked us for her team! It’s just incredible that a Pussycat Doll wants to help us.”
Since the audition day, Academy of Base has been working non-stop on both keeping their success secret and on their routine for the semis, part of which has involved ‘Kimberly Days’ with their team judge, where they’ve spent time in the studio with the star helping them out with advice and suggestions.
“She’s such a lovely person, on and off camera,” says Jade, of the star who has just announced she is having her first baby, with husband Max Rogers. “We didn’t know when we met her, although a few of the girls in my group had an inkling because she was always wearing these baggy clothes, but we didn’t want to say anything. But then she announced it and we all congratulated her, it was lovely.”
The three live semi-finals take place at Earls Court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, with Academy of Base being first-up to perform on Tuesday. The live grand final will be screened on Friday, where the winner of the £250,000 prize will be announced.
“I think we’ve got a good chance,” says Jade. “There’s a group called Boyband, who are on Ashley Banjo’s team, who are really, really good – they’re the ones to watch!
“But we’ve got lots of lifts and partnering and flicks and tricks up our sleeves to wow the audience with, they always go crazy for that kind of stuff. It would be life-changing if we won. We want to form a company and do loads more shows. Hopefully we’d grow to be on a par with Flawless and Diversity.”
Academy of Base will be competing in the second live semi-final of Got To Dance on Tuesday, August 26 at 8pm on Sky 1.