Strictly come to the dance will have the largest cast of professional dancers in history when it returns this autumn for its 20th series.
Four new professional dancers have joined the cast, bringing a total of 20 professionals ready to bring their skills to the BBC dance floor show later this year.
The four new world-class dancers who complete this year’s professional troupe are European Cup winner Vito Coppola, Chinese national champion Carlos Gu, former British Under-21 national champion Lauren Oakley and Latin champion Michelle Tiakas.
New faces: Strictly Come Dancing will have its biggest ever line-up of professional dancers when it returns for its 20th series this autumn with four new professionals joining the show
They join professional dancers already cast for the upcoming series: Diane Buswell, Nadzia Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jovita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.
Show favorites Aliaz Skaryanec and Oti Mabuse both quit Strictly Come Dancing earlier this year.
Not every professional dancer will be paired with a celebrity, four of whom traditionally perform only in professional programs.
Super fan: Former British Under-21 champion Lauren Oakley can’t wait to get started after gushing: ‘I grew up watching Strictly’
Vito Coppola said of his new role: “I am very excited to be a part of this family. I can’t wait to start this new adventure and challenge myself. Strictly sto arrivando! (or: I’m definitely going!)’
Carlos Gu added: “I’m really excited to be joining Strictly and really excited to get started. This is a new chapter in my life and also a new challenge. I am absolutely ready to go on this journey and shine.”
Former British national under-21 champion Lauren Oakley said: “I grew up watching Strictly, always hoping that one day I could be part of the best show on TV doing what I love most.”
New talent: European Cup winner Vito Coppola says of his new role: ‘I’m delighted to be part of this family’
Dream come true: Latin dance champion Michelle Tiakas said: ‘Being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has been a dream of mine since I was a child’
“Now that it’s happening, it doesn’t quite seem real. I can’t wait to start this new glitter adventure and join this incredible family.”
Latin champion Michelle Tsiakkas said: “Being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has been a dream of mine since I was a child.”
“I can’t believe my dream has come true! I am so grateful to be joining this incredible family and I can’t wait to step on this magical dance floor and give it my all!”
Pro: Chinese national champion Carlos Gu added: ‘I’m absolutely ready to go on this journey and shine’
The upcoming series will be the first in three years to be broadcast without the Covid measures which have forced bosses to introduce restrictions including training ‘bubbles’ and limited audiences.
The celebrity contestants will not be confirmed until later in the year with the latest rumors including Channel 4 presenter Steph McGovern, Coronation Street star Kim Marsh and former footballer Tony “Donkey” Adams.
Farewell: Earlier this year, Alezh Skaryanec announced he was leaving Strictly Come Dancing after nine years on the show professionally
The 61-year-old explained that “anything is possible” and noted that the show’s executive producer, Sarah James, always “looks out of the box.”
Talking to A mirror At the TRIC Awards in London last week, the judge shared, “Anything is possible. [Executive producer] Sarah James always looks out of the box, and when it’s appropriate… I’m sure we’ll see a lot of things you don’t expect.’
If so, the move would follow last year’s same-sex finalists John Waite, 33, and dance partner Johannes Radebe, 35.
The popular duet in the series in 2020 was performed by the boxer couple Nicola Adams and Katy Jones.
Strictly Come Dancing returns for series 20 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this autumn.
Out! Two-time champion Oti Mabuse has also quit the police force to pursue new television opportunities (Pictured in 2020 with Bill Bailey as they won series 18)