Strictly Come Dancing stars reveal past dance experience ahead of show’s launch

Strictly Come Dancing’s stars have shared their past dance experience (or lack of it!) ahead of the show’s launch.


Fifteen celebs have signed up for the new series and it seems some are more prepared for the challenge than others.

Opening up about their past dance experience, this year’s cast have revealed how ready they are to step into the ballroom.

Shares TV chef John Whaite: “Between the ages of 10-14, I did ballet, modern and tap. So I may have a few dancing bones in my body, but I’m not necessarily very good rhythmically. Ballet is very stiff and I can do a triple timestep but who knows what I will be like at Ballroom or Latin! ”

TV presenter Rhys Stephenson says: “Only street dance school which I did when I was about 15 years old.

Rhys Stephenson - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Rhys Stephenson – (C) BBC – Photographer: Ray Burmiston

“Apart from that, everything else I learned about dance was from music videos. I love Will Smith and in Men In Black 2, at the end there is that nod your head music video and I watched that relentlessly.”

Nina Wadia reveals: “I trained when I was a very little girl, I did some Indian dance training called Bharatanatyam, from ages 4-9. And then when we moved to Hong Kong from 11-16 I did tap dancing.”


And McFly star Tom Fletcher adds: “I went to theatre school, so I danced a bit at school, but that was a long time ago and nothing like what you’d learn on Strictly.”

Meanwhile actress Katie McGlynn and comedian Robert Webb have both previously appeared in other dancing shows.

Katie says: “I also did The Greatest Dancer for Sport Relief, you only had two days to train but I had so much fun. I wasn’t the best but I just enjoyed it which made me really want to do Strictly.”

Robert, who famously performed the Flashdance on Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, recalls: “That was fun but it was really hard. I’m no better than anybody else learning or remembering moves but I know from the outside it looks like that because I went on to win it.

“But, I know the truth and the truth is that the first live performance was the first time I got from start to finish without stopping! I was just utterly terrified beyond belief. I’m hoping it won’t be as bad this time as I’ll have longer to rehearse and a partner!”

Both EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis and social media star Tilly Ramsay reveal they both did ballet when younger – although didn’t stick with it.

“I tried dancing when I was much younger, but that definitely wasn’t for me. Mum put us in ballet school but I wasn’t very good so I ended up at football camp with my brother,” Tilly says.

Rose Ayling-Ellis - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Rose Ayling-Ellis – (C) BBC – Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Rose adds: “I haven’t had any professional training, I did ballet when I was very young, I didn’t last very long though. I’ve also done theatre training so you learn a bit there, but mainly my dancing involves a night out.”

For some of the stars however Strictly will be very much their first time properly dancing.

Asked about his past dance experience, Olympian Adam Peaty responds: “Absolutely none. I like to dance though. I like to move my hips… but that’s about it.”


And TV presenter AJ Odudo says: “I have zero previous experience, and I mean zero! I’ve never been to stage or drama school but I’ve always liked clubbing. I’m confident when it comes to hitting the dance floor, but whether I should be confident, I’ll leave it to everyone else at home to decide!”

Strictly Come Dancing launches on Saturday, 18 September on BBC One with the live shows starting a week later.