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24 September 2014
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Strictly Come Dancing
Emma and Darren

Strictly Come Dancing series four



Professional dancers

 

Darren Bennett (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Emma Bunton)

Darren is a down to earth, cheeky guy who loves his Northern roots. Darren and his partner and wife Lilia Kopylova, also appearing in Strictly Come Dancing, are currently ranked the number one British Latin American Couple.

 

Darren won series two of the show with Jill Halfpenny, but went out in the fourth week of series three with partner Gloria Hunniford.

 

Darren warns that the celebrity dancers should be under no illusions before entering the competition: "People need to be 100 per cent committed to doing this show and often people are quite shocked by the amount of work which is required.

 

"You need someone with the stamina to work hard for the four months and give it their all."

Strictly Come Dancing
Georgina and James

 

James Jordan (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Georgina Bouzova)

Straight-talking James is a Latin American specialist. He and his dance partner and wife, Aleksandra, are both taking part in their first Strictly Come Dancing competition.

 

They have been dancing together for six years and turned professional in 2003. Since then they have been Closed British finalists in 2005, UK Open Rising Star finalists and British Open Rising Star Professional Latin runners-up in 2006.

 

Based in Hong Kong, James teaches dance as well as dancing professionally. James describes his teaching style as patient but straightforward and to the point, and he won't be afraid to speak his mind as he would really love to win.

 

"If anyone says they aren't in it to win it, they are lying - because that's ultimately what everyone wants. I believe I can win – I think I might just do it!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Claire and Brendan

 

Brendan Cole (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Claire King)

Brendan Cole returns for his fourth Strictly Come Dancing competition.

 

Kiwi Brendan moved to London when he was 18 to seek a career in dance. During that time he financed himself with a number of jobs including being a warehouseman and a builder!

 

He specialises in Latin American dancing. He is Asian Pacific Latin America Champion and New Zealand Latin American Champion.

 

Brendan and Natasha Kaplinsky won series one of Strictly Come Dancing. In series two Brendan was knocked out of the competition in the fifth week after failing to gel with his partner Sarah Manners.

 

He was magnanimous in defeat, saying at the time:"We deserved to get knocked out. It's not often I say that, I'm very competitive."

 

In series three Brendan was partnered, most memorably, with Fiona Phillips and despite Fiona's inability to dance, they managed to stay until week four.

 

Brendan is already training his partner hard for series four and is looking forward to the first live performance.

 

"It's an even bigger series this year and I'm really looking forward to showing everyone what Claire can do.

 

"It's all about the celebrity at the end of the day; their dedication, determination and to some degree, the size of their profile. I can be sure of one thing though, I'll be the best!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Louisa and Vincent

 

Vincent Simone (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Louisa Lytton)

Italian Vincent Simone comes from a dancing family; both his parents are professional ballroom and Latin teachers.

 

Vincent and his partner Flavia have been dancing together for 10 years and turned professional in 2001.

 

This is their first Strictly Come Dancing competition. Since 2001 they have been UK Professional Ten Dance Champions for the last five years, UK Professional Showdance Champions for the last four years, as well as the UK Argentine Champions 2006 and World Argentine Tango Show Champions for the last two years.

 

Vincent is really excited about taking part in Strictly Come Dancing and hopes his fellow countrymen will get behind him: "I hope fellow Italians living in the UK will vote for me as well as the rest of the public – I intend to use my Italian charm to try and make this happen!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Ian and Mica

 

Ian Waite (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Mica Paris)

Ian's speciality is Latin American. He's a genuinely warm and charming person who is constantly smiling and who made it to the European Professional Latin Championships finals in 2003.

 

Ian's professional dance partner, Camilla Dallerup, is also appearing in Strictly Come Dancing.

 

In series two Ian and his celebrity partner, Denise Lewis, were runners up, whilst in series three Ian and his partner, Zoe Ball, came third – this time around Ian hopes to go all the way.

 

"I feel that this is my year to win, as I've come so close in the past two series. Every year I do my best as I want to stay in the competition for as long as possible as I love it so much. If I can make the final, it means I've been around for as long as I possibly can!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Jan and Anton

 

Anton Du Beke (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Jan Ravens) Anton is a typical English gentleman with a naughty sense of humour who specialises in ballroom dancing.

 

He is IDTA Classic Champion 2003. His professional dance partner is Erin Boag, who also appears in Strictly Come Dancing.

 

Anton finished third in series one, dancing with Lesley Garrett; in series two he and Esther Rantzen were the third couple to be voted off; and he came fifth in series three with Patsy Palmer.

 

This series Anton is determined to go all the way, by whatever means necessary: "I'm slightly more determined this year. I want to win; I'm tired of not winning - I'm willing to do whatever it takes... even starting an illicit affair with Arlene Philips!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Matthew and Carol

 

Matthew Cutler (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Carol Smillie)

Matthew is polite, friendly, approachable and down to earth, but admits he can also be a bit aloof.

 

Specialising in Latin American dancing, Matthew was the UK Latin Champion four times in the last six years.

 

He was married to and danced with Nicole Cutler (Strictly Come Dancing series two) before they spilt in 2003. However, after Nicole's decision to stop competing, she and Matthew took the decision to reunite in a non-competitive partnership in July 2006.

 

Matthew first took part in Strictly Come Dancing in series three, where he was the first to leave with his partner Siobhan Hayes.

 

He is keen not to repeat the experience: "I don't want to go out first and it's made me more competitive… I'll be harder on my celebrity and I'll work extra hard. I don't want it to happen again."

Strictly Come Dancing
Matt and Lilia

 

Lilia Kopylova (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Matt Dawson)

Lilia is gentle and softly spoken, but below the surface lies a cheeky Russian minx.

 

Her speciality is Latin American and together with her partner and husband Darren Bennett (also appearing in Strictly Come Dancing), they are ranked the number one Latin American couple in Britain.

 

Lilia's favourite dances are the rumba and the foxtrot.

 

In series two Lilia was partnered with Aled Jones, finishing fourth, whilst in series three Lilia and partner Darren Gough not only won the series but also the Christmas Special Trophy!

 

This time around Lilia is once again paired with a sportsman and hopes to emulate last year's success: "Working with Darren was perfect... he's so easy to teach and we had really fun sessions but worked incredibly hard.

 

"Darren was great to work with as he is a sportsperson so knew how to handle competition and recognise the importance of working together as a team."

Strictly Come Dancing
Camilla and Ray

 

Camilla Dallerup (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Ray Fearon)

Camilla is a blonde, Danish beauty with huge charisma who specialises in Latin American dancing.

 

She is Asian Pacific Latin American Champion and New Zealand Latin American Champion.

 

Her professional dance partner is Ian Waite, who also appears in Strictly Come Dancing.

 

In series one Camilla and David Dickinson were the second couple to be voted off; in series two Camilla danced with Roger Black and they were the sixth couple to be voted off; in the last series Camilla was partnered with chef James Martin, reaching the semi-final stage of the competition.

 

Camilla is hoping to go one better this year but stresses the importance of working closely with partner Ray Fearon: "It's important that we become a team, and that we are working in the same direction.

 

"Of course, if we get on and manage to have fun, even better. Dancing should always be hard work but fun!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Nicholas and Nicole

 

Nicole Cutler (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Nicholas Owen)

Fun-loving South African Nicole is a Latin American specialist. After splitting up with dance partner and ex-husband, Matthew Cutler, in 2003, Nicole partnered Robin Sewell from June 2005 to June 2006, when they were runners-up in the closed British Championships and ranked second in England.

 

Due to popular demand, Nicole and Matthew decided to revive their dancing partnership earlier this year and now perform in non-competitive environments.

 

Nicole partnered Diarmuid Gavin in the second series of Strictly Come Dancing, eventually being voted out in the seventh week.

 

After a year away, Nicole is keen to get back on the Strictly dancefloor: "I have lots of ideas up my sleeve already for this series so just wait and see!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Karen and Mark

 

Karen Hardy (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Mark Ramprakash)

Karen is one of the most highly-regarded women in dancing today.

 

Before her retirement from the competitive world of dance in March 1999, Karen's successful partnership with Bryan Watson saw them as undefeated United Kingdom, International, British National, World Masters, Open Italian, Yankie Classic, London Open and Osaka World Trophy Champions of Latin American dance.

 

Karen first took part in Strictly Come Dancing in series three, dancing with Bill Turnbull, when they were the seventh couple to leave.

 

Taking part in Strictly has been an amazing experience for Karen: "After appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, the dance world realised that I was back on the circuit, and my career has taken off again.

 

"I've not competed myself, but I've taught and adjudicated in some amazing places. I can honestly say in the past year, I've travelled around the world four times!'

Strictly Come Dancing
Erin and Peter

 

Erin Boag (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Peter Schmeichel)

The IDTA Classic Champion for 2003, Erin is a strong, vivacious Kiwi, who specialises in ballroom dancing.

 

Her professional dance partner is Anton Du Beke, also appearing in Strictly Come Dancing.

 

Erin came fourth in series one, dancing with Martin Offiah; third in series two dancing with Julian Clary; and second in series three with Colin Jackson - and hopes to go one better this year.

 

"So far I've come fourth, third and second in that order, so hopefully I can move up again this series!"

Strictly Come Dancing
Spoony and Ola

 

Aleksandra 'Ola' Jordan (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Spoony)

Polish-born Aleksandra (Ola) is a Latin American specialist and, with her husband James, is taking part in Strictly Come Dancing for the first time.

 

Ola and James have been dancing together for six years, professionally for the last three years.

 

Although initially quiet and subdued, Ola is bubbly and talkative once she comes out of her shell, so Spoony should watch out as Ola says: "I'm not afraid to be nasty if that's what it takes."

 

Ola's favourite dance is the samba, and outside dancing she is a yoga fanatic - which helps keeps her toned and supple for dancing.

 

As the "new girl" Ola is both excited and nervous ahead of her first series of Strictly Come Dancing.

 

"I'm very excited at the thought of what lies ahead but terrified at the same time, as I don't know what to expect."

Strictly Come Dancing
Jimmy and Flavia

 

Flavia Cacace (Strictly Come Dancing partner is Jimmy Tarbuck)

Flavia is an extremely chatty, bubbly character who specialises in Ten Dance. Both Flavia and her professional dance partner, Vincent Simone, will be partnering celebrities for the first time, although they have both previously appeared on both Strictly Dance Fever and Strictly Come Dancing as Argentine Tango specialists.

 

Flavia and Vincent have been dancing together for ten years, having turned professional in 2001 – they are a couple both on and off the dancefloor.

 

Flavia is really excited about taking part in the fourth series of Strictly: "I am feeling a lot calmer than I thought I would be. I was more nervous when I first found out that I was going to be one of the dancers, but now I seem to have calmed down and am just looking forward to it."

 

 

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