2016 Strictly Professional Dancer line up revealed!
We're dusting off our dancing shoes to reveal our professional dancer line up for 2016 which includes three brand new dancers alongside the return of viewers’ favourites.
New to the fold are world-class Latin and Ballroom dance experts - World Champion Katya Jones, Ukrainian Champion Oksana Platero and top Spanish dance professional Gorka Marquez.
Returning to the Strictly dance floor are our male dancers, Anton du Beke, Brendan Cole, Kevin Clifton, Pasha Kovalev, Aljaž Škorjanec, Giovanni Pernice; and fabulous female dancers are Karen Clifton, Natalie Lowe, Joanne Clifton, Janette Manrara and Oti Mabuse.
Strictly extends its thanks to Tristan MacManus and also to Aliona Vilani, Kristina Rihanoff, Ola Jordan who announced at the end of last series that they wouldn’t be returning to the show, and finally to Gleb Savchenko who has decided that due to family commitments he will not be appearing in the next series.
Gleb said: “I thoroughly enjoyed taking part on the last series of Strictly Come Dancing and especially the way that the UK gave me such a warm welcome but due to family commitments I won't be returning to the show for the next series - I'll definitely be tuning in though.”
Katya Jones, Gorka Marquez and Oksana Platero
World Latin Champion Katya was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia and started dancing at the age of six, training in gymnastics as well as Ballroom and Latin-American dancing. In 2008, Katya formed a partnership with Neil Jones and together they won the World Amateur Latin Championships for the first time in 2010, going on to win the title a total of three times, before turning professional in 2013. In 2015, they became the World Professional Latin Showdance Champions and are four times undefeated British National Professional Champions.
Katya said, “I am so privileged to be joining Strictly Come Dancing. I know it is extremely intense, but so am I! I am fierce, fabulous, and would love to win!”
Latin dancer Gorka began dancing at the age of 12 and was consistently one of the top dancers in his country, representing Spain in the World Latin Championships in 2010 and reaching the semi-finals of the 2012 WDSF World Cup. In 2014, Gorka joined the global Ballroom and Latin dance phenomenon ‘Burn the Floor’ as one of their leads and has toured with them all around the world. He joins Strictly this year for the first time and Gorka is hoping to bring his cheeky personality and some Latin passion to the ballroom.
Gorka said, “I feel very excited and grateful to be joining Strictly Come Dancing and to be one of the professional dancers for the new series. It’s something that every dancer dreams of and something that I always wanted to have the opportunity to do.”
Oksana has been dancing competitively since the age of six. In her native Ukraine, she was a Juvenile and Junior finalist before becoming National Youth Champion, an honour she held for three years consecutively. As an adult, she began to represent the United States and became a National US Champion taking first place in the Professional Rising Star Latin category. She also became the USDC World Professional Rising Star Champion. Oksana was a pro dancer on the US series Dancing with the Stars, where she danced for five seasons and has also worked as a choreographer for the US TV show So You Think You Can Dance.
Oksana said: “Words cannot describe how extremely excited I am to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family this year. I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity. It feels so surreal and I cannot wait to get started.”