Strictly Come Dancing's 2021 professional dancers revealed
Following an extraordinary year for Strictly Come Dancing, entertaining and delighting an average of 11m viewers, the multi-award-winning series returns in 2021 to once again bring sequins, sparkle and sensational dancing to the nation
"We are so thrilled to be welcoming back our incredible line up of professional dancers for 2021. Their passion and dedication for Strictly shone through more than ever last year, as they all sacrificed so much to deliver an unforgettable series during unprecedented and challenging times" — Sarah James, Executive Producer, BBC Studios
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Made by BBC Studios, Strictly Come Dancing will be back on BBC One this autumn with the professional dancer line up revealed as Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse.
Sarah James, Executive Producer, BBC Studios, says: “We are so thrilled to be welcoming back our incredible line-up of professional dancers for 2021. Their passion and dedication for Strictly shone through more than ever last year as they all sacrificed so much to deliver an unforgettable series during unprecedented and challenging times. With so much talent returning to the ballroom, the 2021 series promises more show-stopping choreography, memorable performances and world-class dancing.”
Further announcements and information, including which dancers will be partnered with celebrity contestants, will be announced in due course.
Strictly Come Dancing originally launched on BBC One in the UK in 2004. The entertainment format - known internationally as Dancing With The Stars - has become a success story all around the world, and the format has been licensed to 60 countries by BBC Studios.
Strictly Come Dancing is a BBC Studios production for BBC One. The Executive Producer is Sarah James, the Series Producer is Jack Gledhill, and Robin Lee-Perrella is the Series Editor. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Jo Wallace.
Born in Slovenia, Aljaž took to the dance floor at the age of five and enjoyed much success in his home country, where he won 19 Slovenian championships in Ballroom and Latin. For over a decade of competing, Aljaž represented Slovenia at a world level. Aljaž joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2013 and during his first year, he lifted the Glitterball Trophy with Abbey Clancy. Other partnerships have included Alison Hammond, Helen George, Gemma Atkinson and, most recently, Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo.
Amy began dancing at the age of eight, is a four-time British National Finalist and went on to become British National Champion, making her one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin dancers in the UK. Amy grew up watching Strictly Come Dancing from her home town of Caerphilly, South Wales, and in 2017 her dream of dancing on the show came true when she joined the series as a professional dancer. In 2019 she danced all the way to the final with CBBC’s Karim Zeroual and most recently she partnered TV Presenter JJ Chalmers.
Anton Du Beke
Anton Du Beke joined Strictly Come Dancing during its first series and is the only professional dancer to have danced in every series. He has had many memorable partnerships including with Ann Widdecombe, Nancy Dell’Olio, Judy Murray and Ruth Langsford. Anton has reached the Strictly Come Dancing final twice, most recently in 2019 with EastEnders’ star Emma Barton. In 2020 Anton was partnered with former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Dianne Buswell is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist. She was a professional dancer on the Australian version of Strictly Come Dancing before joining the UK series in 2017. Dianne reached the final with social media star Joe Sugg in her second series on the show, and most recently was partnered with singer Max George.
Giovanni Pernice was born in Sicily but as a child moved to Bologna to pursue his dancing career, during which he successfully won the Italian Championships in 2012. Giovanni has made the Strictly Come Dancing final an impressive three times, with Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee and Faye Tozer. In the most recent series he partnered Ranvir Singh and danced all the way to the semi-final.
Gorka Marquez began dancing at the age of 12. He represented Spain in the World Latin Championships in 2010 and reached the semi-finals of the 2012 WDSF World Cup. Gorka has been a professional dancer on Strictly since 2016 and has danced in two finals, with Alexandra Burke in 2017 and with Maisie Smith in 2020.
Graziano Di Prima
Sicilian-born Graziano Di Prima, an Italian Latin Champion, joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, partnering radio presenter Vick Hope in Graziano's first year on the series. Before Strictly, as well as competing for his home country, Graziano also represented Belgium at the World Championships and made the top 24 at the Under 21 Latin World Championships. Graziano has also toured the world with the dance company Burn The Floor.
Janette Manrara was born in Miami and joined the Strictly Come Dancing family in 2013. Before Strictly, Janette was already a dancer at a global level, performing with Jennifer Lopez at the 82nd Academy Awards as well as being a principal dancer in the TV series Glee. Janette’s Strictly partners have included Jake Wood, Peter Andre and Dr Ranj. In 2020 she was partnered with singer HRVY and reached her first final. Janette has also won the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special twice with partners Melvin Odoom and Aston Merrygold.
Johannes Radebe is a two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and a three-time South African Amateur Latin Champion. He joined Strictly Come Dancing as a professional dancer in 2018 and has also competed on Strictly Come Dancing South Africa twice, reaching the final both times. On the UK series, Johannes has been the dance partner of Catherine Tyldesley in 2019, and Caroline Quentin in 2020.
Originally from Venezuela, Karen moved to New York when she was eight years old where she became United Amateur American Rhythm National Champion and Professional World Mambo Champion. In 2009, Karen appeared in the US series So You Think You Can Dance. Karen is returning for her tenth series of Strictly Come Dancing and is the longest-serving female professional in the show’s history. Over the years she has enjoyed memorable partnerships, including with Jeremy Vine, Mark Wright and Chris Ramsey, and in 2020 she partnered Jamie Laing and together they danced all the way to the final.
World Champion Latin dancer Katya Jones was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She is a World Professional Latin Showdance Champion, three-time World Amateur Latin Champion and four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion. Katya is also a Strictly Come Dancing champion, having won the series with Joe McFadden in her second year on the show. During her first year she was partnered with Ed Balls and together they performed many memorable routines, including their now iconic Salsa to Gangnam Style. In the most recent series she partnered Nicola Adams, in Strictly’s first same-sex pairing.
Russian-born Luba Mushtuk is four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship and is also an Italian Open Latin Show Dance champion and Latin European Championship finalist. Luba was part of the Strictly Come Dancing family for several years as an assistant choreographer, before becoming a professional dancer on the programme in 2018. She has danced with two celebrity partners in the main series: James Cracknell in 2019 and Jason Bell in 2020.
Nadiya Bychkova is a highly decorated dancer originally from Ukraine. She is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin ‘10’ Dance. Nadiya joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2017 and in her first year made it to the Quarter-Final with her celebrity partner Davood Ghadami. She has since also partnered Lee Ryan and David James.
Nancy Xu is a world-class Latin dancer who was a finalist in the Under 21 World Championships in 2010. Nancy was also a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance in her home country of China. She joined Strictly in 2019 and has performed in all the series’ group numbers, as well as dancing for guest music acts and in the 2019 Children in Need special, partnered EastEnders’ actor Rudolph Walker.
Neil Jones is a four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion and three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships. In 2015, he was crowned World Professional Latin Showdance Champion and has won over 45 titles around the world during the course of his competitive career. Neil has been a Strictly professional since 2016, dancing in the series’ group numbers and Christmas Specials, and in 2019 partnered footballer Alex Scott, reaching week 11 of the competition.
Oti Mabuse is an eight-time South African Latin American Champion. She moved to Germany to further her dancing career and there achieved many titles, including World European Latin semi-finalist and World Cup Championship semi-finalist. Oti joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 and is the current reigning pro champion having lifted the mirrorball trophy with Bill Bailey in the 2020 series. She is the only dancer in the programme’s history to win two consecutive series, having also won in 2019 with actor Kelvin Fletcher.
Source BBC One
March 26, 2021 5:00am ET by BBC One