Phoenix Boys: The talented golden buzzer dance troupe representing Manchester on Britain’s Got Talent

A dance troupe featuring incredible talent from the North West are performing live on Britain’s Got Talent tonight (Thursday May 30). Phoenix Boys, a dance company which runs across Manchester, Birmingham and London, wowed judges during their audition in front of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli.

The former Strictly star was so blown away by their routine, he slammed the golden buzzer so hard it broke. He heaped praise on the 37-strong dance group, saying they reminded him of his time dancing as a young boy.

Ben Ross, 17, Oli Edwards, 16, and Felix Schmitt, 9, recalled the moment they realised they were through to the semi finals to the Manchester Evening News. The boys had only three days of rehearsals before their stunning routine – and now they’re determined to prove that they’re golden-buzzer-worthy once again.

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Felix, from Leigh, Wigan, said there was a moment of ‘shock and disbelief’ when Bruno pressed the golden buzzer. Ben, from Urmston, recalled: “I didn’t see Bruno hit the golden buzzer, I felt something hit my face, looked down and saw the judges stood up looking at a broken buzzer.”

Ben, who is a first year dance student at The Manchester College, added that the support online has been ‘crazy’. “Especially because it’s 37 boys dancing, you almost expect negative comments but there hasn’t really been any – just a massive wave of support”.

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The boys were also met with overwhelming support from their schools, with teachers and students eager to congratulate them and their towns ‘turning orange’ with Phoenix Boys posters. Ben, Felix and Oli, from Crewe, Cheshire, all joined Phoenix to be taught by male teachers and learn more about male choreography, rather than having to learn the female moves as they would in an ordinary class.

Ben also spoke about Phoenix’s positive environment and how he loves to help support the younger boys in the classes – something that undoubtedly shone through in the boys’ audition, which you can watch above.

Now, the pressure is really piling on as the dancers prepare to perform live in front of not only the BGT judges and audience, but millions of viewers across the country too. The preparations comes as Oli takes on his GCSEs and Ben has college coursework, assignments and showcases looming.

Ben said of the final: “We have to prove how great we are and that we’re getting better along the way,” as Felix added: “Simon said Bruno’s given us this opportunity to come to the semi-final and be even better so we’ve got to go out and show them that we can be consistent and be golden buzzer worthy every time we perform”.

Felix and Ben of Phoenix Boys
L to R: Felix and Ben
(Image: Supplied)

All three boys’ love of dancing started out at a young age. Ben was inspired to dance after watching ballet dancer Jack Higgins on Britain’s Got Talent in 2016. He tried street dance at first, but didn’t enjoy that. He moved on to ballet but admits he ‘cried every single time’ because he didn’t like it.

He then moved on to contemporary dance and found his passion. “My studio at the time changed and became more advanced so we got pushed and got better and better. We started doing competitions and that made me realise I love to dance – competitive dancing gives me something to work for,” he said.

Ben, who also attends The KAS Dance Academy, dreams of being a dance teacher. “I love teaching, I teach at my local studio and it’s so important to help and inspire the younger generation,” he said.

Felix was three years old when he attended his first dance class. He moved on to more elite schools and currently trains at Dawson’s Academy in Bolton, Holly Hulton Dance Academy and Stage Box Manchester and as well as Phoenix. Felix, who wants to be a backing dancer for the stars and work centre stage in musical theatre, also has plans to one day open his own dance studio to inspire others.

Oli, who also trains at Aspire Dance Academy, has big ambitions of working behind the scenes as he explained: “Phoenix isn’t just a place for dance – dance doesn’t have to be your career. It’s a place for you to love dance, engage with other boys and have that social time with people you wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m not here to go into dancing, I want to work backstage in lighting and things like that. It’s there for fun, love and enjoyment.”

Phoenix Boys are hoping to make it all the way to the Britain's Got Talent finals
Phoenix Boys are hoping to make it all the way to the Britain’s Got Talent finals
(Image: Supplied)

If Phoenix Boys make it through to Sunday’s live finals, they’ll be in with a shot of winning a coveted spot at the Royal Variety Performance, as well as a £250,000 cash prize. The money would go towards a permanent venue for Phoenix Boys to rehearse in.

Oli explained how the win and new facility would make dance more accessible: “It would change everyone’s lives – not everyone has the money to travel to train, to move away for uni. Especially as dance is so expensive – you’re going to audition after audition and you might not make a single one of them, which is an unfortunate truth about this industry.”

On Phoenix’s training, he added: “Getting that audition is one thing, knowing how to be a blank canvas is something else you need to know how to do. Phoenix is training you up for what you need to know.”

Phoenix Boys is a nationwide dance associate programme which currently runs in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and provides supplementary training to budding male dancers with no audition to be involved.

Britain’s Got Talent continues tonight on ITV1 and ITVX at 8pm. The final will air on Sunday June 2 at 7.30pm.

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