19-year-old Paulina Bidzinska from Poland has won Eurovision Young Dancers 2017 - the country's second win in a row.
The final of the biennial competition for dancers aged between 16 and 21 took place on Saturday 16 December at the Prague Congress Centre in the Czech Republic. It was also the second time in a row the competition was hosted by Czech Television (ČT).
Dancers from eight EBU Member broadcasters took part: Hosts ČT (Czech Republic), WDR (Germany), PBS (Malta), NRK (Norway), TVP (Poland), RTP (Portugal), RTVSLO (Slovenia) and SVT (Sweden).
The event was broadcast live in 7 of the participating countries and on youngdancers.tv via YouTube.
The eight dancers in the 2017 competition were judged by a panel of three experts: world-renowned dancers Sweden’s Ambra Succi and Daria Klimentová from the Czech Republic and Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili.
The participants performed solo routines before taking part in a group performance. The jury then chose two dancers to take part in an exciting ninety-second duel which decided the winner of this year’s competition.
Paulina performed a classic and modern routine “La Certa” to Antonio Vivaldi's "Fac ut ardeat".
She began her ballet education at the age of nine and received the Honourable Mention Award at the National Ballet Competition in Łódź in 2012. Following this success Paulina went on to win second prize at the National Ballet competition in Gdansk and first prize at the International Ballet Competition, Golden Point Shoes.
Following her win Paulina said: "I'm surprised and I want to say thank you. It's an amazing feeling and I'm very happy. The most important thing about this competition is meeting other dancers and seeing other styles. We can learn a lot from this show. This was a big chance to show my skills and I hope that this win will bring some new experiences."
The winner received a trophy and 7,000 euros. Second placed Patricija Crnkovič from Slovenia received a prize of 3,000 euros.
Jon Ola Sand, the EBU’s Head of Live Events and Executive Supervisor of Eurovision Young Dancers said: “I have to start by congratulating Paulina for winning Eurovision Young Dancers. She performed superbly throughout the week and her victory in the contest is thoroughly deserved. The eight young contestants have all reached the limits of what can be achieved at an amateur level, and we are proud to be able to share their talents across Europe’s public-service TV channels, where we hope millions of viewers will be inspired by their performances.“
Eurovision Young Dancers 2017 was a co-production between the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Member Ceská Televize (ČT).
The Eurovision Young Dancers competition was first staged in 1985 in Italy and held biennially. Spain has won the competition the most times, five, while Sweden, Belgium, and Switzerland have all come second twice.