Pasha Kovalev joins professional dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2011

Strictly Come Dancing

Dancer Pasha Kovalev has been named as a new professional partner for Strictly Come Dancing 2011, replacing Jared Murillo who has been axed. All other of the professional dancers - including favourites Brendan Cole and Anton Du Beke - will return, but the dance troupe has also been dropped.

31-year-old Pasha Kovalev, who hails from Siberia and specialises in Latin, will take his place on the dance floor alongside a host of familiar faces. The Russian star has been a US National Latin Finalist for 5 years in a row, as well as being a finalist in US reality show So You Think You Can Dance.

The other male dancers for the new series in the autumn are: reigning champion Artem Chigvintsev, Brendan Cole, Anton Du Beke, James Jordan, Vincent Simone and Robin Windsor.

Meanwhile the female dancers waltzing back on to the show this year will once again be Erin Boag, Flavia Cacace, Ola Jordan, Natalie Lowe, Kristina Rihanoff, Aliona Vilani and Katya Virshilas.

The show's executive producer, Moira Ross, said: "I'm delighted to welcome back our Strictly professionals and really excited about introducing our new dancer Pasha to our audiences. We've some exciting treats in store for series nine."

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in September.

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