Three new professional dancers join the Strictly Come Dancing line-up for 2016

We're very excited that three British champions are joining the Strictly family. Our viewers are in for such a treat this year and I hope they give our new dancers a big Strictly welcome!Louise Rainbow, Executive Producer of Strictly Come Dancing
Date: 26.07.2016     Last updated: 26.07.2016 at 13.31
Three more professional dancers will be joining the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. The all-British dancers include World Champion Neil Jones and British and European Youth Latin and Ballroom Champions, AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt, who will be the youngest ever professional dancers to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.

Professional dancers already announced for the new series are Aljaz Skorjanec, Anton Du Beke, Brendan Cole, Pasha Kovalev, Kevin Clifton, Gorka Marquez, Giovanni Pernice, Karen Clifton, Joanne Clifton, Katya Jones, Janette Manrara, Natalie Lowe, Oti Mabuse and Oksana Platero.

Louise Rainbow, Executive Producer of Strictly Come Dancing said, “We are very excited that three British champions are joining the Strictly family. Our viewers are in for such a treat this year and I hope they give our new dancers a big Strictly welcome!”

Strictly Come Dancing is a BBC Studios production and returns for its 14th series this autumn on BBC One.

Pictures of the new professional dancers are available from the BBC pictures website – www.bbcpictures.co.uk

New Professional Dancers Biographies

AJ Pritchard

AJ was born in Stoke-on-Trent and is aged 21. In 2015, AJ and his dance partner Chloe Hewitt won one of the biggest championships in the world to become British Open Youth Latin Champions.

That same year they also became European Youth Latin Champions. Over their nine year competitive career they have set records by becoming the National Youth Latin Champions for three years in a row from 2012 - 2014 in the two biggest British competitions and uniquely they have been champions in both the Ballroom and Latin syllabuses.

When Strictly Come Dancing first started in 2004, AJ was only aged nine and he has grown up watching the series.

AJ said: “Watch out Strictly, here I come, it is going to be amazing and I feel ecstatic!”

Chloe Hewitt

Chloe is aged 20 making her the youngest ever dancer to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

Born in Chester, Chloe was aged eight when Strictly Come Dancing first aired on TV. After watching the show, she decided to take up dancing and started going to Ballroom and Latin lessons.

Last year, Chloe and her fellow dance partner AJ Pritchard won one of the biggest championships in the world to become British Open Youth Latin Champions. That same year they also became European Youth Latin Champions. Over their nine year competitive career they have set records by becoming the National Youth Latin Champions for three years in a row from 2012-2014 in the two biggest British competitions.

Chloe said: "My childhood dream of being on Strictly Come Dancing is now reality! The sheer excitement is exhilarating and I cannot wait to be part of the Strictly family."

Neil Jones

Neil is the undefeated 4-time British National Champion, and the three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships with his wife Katya Jones, who also joins the show this year. In 2015, Neil and Katya were crowned World Professional Latin Showdance Champions.

Neil was born in a British Army Camp in Munster, Germany and started dancing at a local ballet school at the age of three. He concentrated mainly in Ballroom and Latin, and also trained in tap, modern and ballet. He holds many titles including the UK, British, European and World Latin Champion.

In 2015, Neil and Katya were crowned World Professional Latin Showdance Champions. Neil was born in a British Army Camp in Munster, Germany and started dancing at a local ballet school at the age of three. 

Neil said: "I am so thrilled to be joining the cast of Strictly Come Dancing! As a British dancer I have grown up watching this amazing show, it is a massive honour and I am feeling pumped and excited to be part of the Strictly family."

Notes to Editors

BBC Studios is the BBC’s main TV production arm, producing award-winning, bold, British, creative content across TV and digital platforms.

BBC Studios create a wide range of programming across drama, comedy, entertainment, music, events and factual.

From Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Mrs Brown’s Boys, to Glastonbury, Big Blue Live and Life and Death Row, BBC Studios' programmes are renowned for their quality and are valued by audiences around the world.

With bases in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Salford, Cardiff, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dumbarton and Belfast, BBC Studios reflects and represents the diverse voices and creative talent from around the UK. 

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