Strictly Come Dancing Welcomes Four New Professional Dancers After Oti And Aljaž Exits
Strictly Come Dancing will have the biggest line-up of professional dancers in the show’s history when it returns later this year, after welcoming four new pros into the fold.
European cup winner Vito Coppola, Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu, former Under 21 British National Champion Lauren Oakley and Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas are all confirmed to be joining the BBC ballroom competition for its 20th series.
Their arrivals follow the exits of fan favourites Oti Mabuse and Aljaž Škorjanec, who both announced they were standing down as pros earlier this year.
Of joining the show, Vito Coppola said: “I am really excited to become part of this family. I cannot wait to start this new adventure and to challenge myself. Strictly sto arrivando! (or: Strictly I am coming!)”
He most recently competed in and won Ballando con le Stelle, the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing.
Carlos Gu said: “I’m thrilled to join Strictly and very excited to get started. It’s a new chapter of my life and a new challenge as well. I’m absolutely ready to take on this journey and to shine.”
Lauren Oakley, who recently appeared alongside Strictly regulars Giovanni Pernice and Anton Du Beke in their national tours, said: “I’ve grown up watching Strictly, always hoping that one day I could be part of the best show on television, doing what I love the most. Now that it’s happening, it doesn’t quite seem real. I can’t wait to start this new sequinned adventure and join this incredible family.”
Burn The Floor star Michelle Tsiakkas said: “Being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has been my dream ever since I was a little girl. I cannot believe my dream has come true! I’m so grateful to be joining this incredible family and I can’t wait to step on that magical dance floor and give it my all!”
The new foursome join returning dancers Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.
Anton Du Beke was recently confirmed as a permanent judge on Strictly after standing in for Bruno Tonioli last year, after he was unable to appear due to US travel restrictions.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn.