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Andrew Self, Man With Down Syndrome, Competes on BBC's 'The Greatest Dancer'

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BBC’s new dance competition “The Greatest Dancer” aired its first episode on Saturday and featured a crowd-pleasing performance from aspiring dancer Andrew Self.

A Simon Cowell production, the show has dancers from different styles compete to impress the audience. Dancers begin their dance routine in a closed studio, if 75 percent of the audience votes for them, the mirror opens up to reveal the live audience and the three “captains”: Otlile Mabuse, Matthew Morrison and Cheryl.

Self, a 21-year-old with Down syndrome, performed an original dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Sunshine in My Pocket.” In a short clip for the BBC, Self said he taught himself to dance. He dances contemporary, ballet and ballroom. “Having Down syndrome, it doesn’t stop me doing anything,” he said.

Self was accompanied by his mother, who shared he began dancing when he was 11 years old. Since then, dance has given him confidence and self-esteem. Self’s performance, complete with a split, won the audience over advancing him to the “call back” round. Self will need to be selected by one of the three captains to move on to the live performance round. Each captain can only pick three dancers.

At the end of his performance, Self was visibly moved and excited by the response he received. His mother joined him and his best friend Tom came to the stage to congratulate him with a hug.

Jordan Banjo, the show’s co-host, took to Twitter to congratulate Self on his performance.

Self’s performance was well received by fans tuning in, some who claim “The Greatest Dancer” may be their new favorite show.

One mom shared that her son, who also has Down syndrome, has not stopped dancing along to Self’s performance. “Role model right there!” she tweeted.

The show’s audition rounds will take place over the next three weeks. After that are the call backs and then the live challenge shows. U.K. viewers interested in watching can tune in to BBC One. For those without iPlayer can watch clips of the show online.

Originally published: January 7, 2019
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