This year’s Strictly Come Dancing stars past dance experience REVEALED

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.

Shared West End star Layton Williams: “I trained in jazz, tap and ballet to a certain degree. I’m absolutely not a ballet dancer, but I’ve done shows that I’ve had to play characters that are. I did work for Matthew Bourne’s company a good few years ago.

The Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Celebrities
The Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Celebrities. Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

“So dance is in me, it’s a core feeling and I love it and it’s my passion. But this world of Latin and Ballroom is completely new to me, so that’s what I’m excited to explore.”

Fellow stage performer Nigel Harman revealed: “I used to go to Amateur Dramatics in South Croydon, a bit of tap and jazz. I have a diploma in musical theatre…some shocking ballet dancing! I’m very good from the waist up…big face and good arms…waist down is shocking…no elasticity, nothing! When I left college I danced on a cruise ship for six months, not the best one I’ll be honest,17 costume changes in a 35 minute show, that sort of thing!

“I did some musicals in London when I was first starting out, I would understudy the lead, so I had to dance well enough to do the ensemble stuff, but I would always head for the back. Very enthusiastic but not great. I haven’t really danced in 20 years though! Enthusiastic, with a bit of training. I’ve never learnt a step of Ballroom or Latin dancing.”

And Ellie Leach said she did tap, ballet and street dance when she was younger.

“But I’m in no way shape or form, trained in Ballroom or Latin,” the soap actress continued. “I wish I was because that would be amazing. But no, I’m not. I’ve always been interested in dancing and when I was younger, I always used to watch Step Up and Street Dance and Fame. I’ve always enjoyed watching dance films and videos of people dancing. So, I’m excited to get my dancing shoes on and do it!”

Other celebs say their dancing experience also didn’t last into adulthood.

Zara McDermott
Strictly Come Dancing 2023: Zara McDermott Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

Love Island’s Zara McDermott explained: “I went to a sports college and we had to do a physical activity for GCSE and you either had to do PE or dance. I didn’t want to do PE, so I did dance and I could just tell my dance teacher was looking at me like ‘oh, no, no’.

“She did give me a C to be fair, I just scraped a pass, because I think I did everything right, I just think I didn’t look great! ”

Amanda Abbington adds: “I danced a bit from the age of about five to 17, I did ballet at my local town hall. I went to Laine Theatre Arts for a year from the age of 16 to 17, but then I got an injury so I stopped dancing. I dance at weddings and parties and in the kitchen.”

Angela Rippon went to “one of the really good ballet schools in Plymouth” as a teenager but was told she was too tall to make it as a dancer.

The broadcaster revealed: “I’ve always been too tall to be a dancer, too tall to be a ballerina. My mother wouldn’t let me go and be a bluebell girl so that was it … I knuckled down to education!”

Meanwhile, Angela Scanlon used to do Irish dancing when she was younger.

“Where you’re expressly told to remain stiff as a board from the waist up, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go down in Latin or in Ballroom?!” she said.

Angela Scanlon
Strictly Come Dancing 2023: Angela Scanlon. Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

As for some of the other celebs, they say Strictly will be their first time properly dancing.

Adam Thomas shared: “No dance experience whatsoever, I have never danced before. I said this to my wife the other day, the fact that my wife is a dance teacher, and I have never learnt how to dance just baffles me, but then she said to me that I haven’t taught her how to act either.

“I have had no dance experience so this is definitely a first for me but again, I am excited to learn and get out there and do my thing.”

“My dance experience is zero,” added Paralympian Jody Cundy.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 launches this Saturday, 16 September at 6:35PM on BBC One and iPlayer.