Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing winner Aliona Vilani quits BBC show

Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani
Image caption McGuiness and Vilani were crowned this year's champions on Saturday

Strictly Come Dancing's Aliona Vilani has announced she is leaving the BBC One show, three days after winning the glitterball trophy with Jay McGuiness.

She announced the news on Twitter, saying she had gone into the most recent series having "decided [it] would... be [her] last one".

Vilani said this year's series had been her "best Strictly experience ever".

The winning couple are booked for the Strictly Come Dancing live tour, which starts on 22 January in Birmingham.

Vilani and McGuiness, a member of boy band The Wanted, were the bookmakers' favourites to win the competition after their jive won the first 10 of the series in October.

It was the second time Vilani had been victorious in the competition, having previously won in 2011 with McFly's Harry Judd.

Vilani has been on the show for seven years. Her previous partners include Rav Wilding, Matt Baker, Tony Jacklin and Gregg Wallace.

Image caption Vilani's previous partners include (L to R) Rav Wilding, Matt Baker and Harry Judd

The Kazakh native had to pull out of the 2013 series after fracturing her ankle in training in rehearsals with dance partner Johnny Ball.

Vilani started ballroom dancing in Russia at the age of 11 and went on to study at the Broadway Dance Center in New York.

She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and married her husband, sales director Vincent Kavanagh, in 2014.

The professional dancers on the show are booked on a series by series contract, meaning no dancers are yet signed up for the 2016 series.

Ola Jordan, another Strictly dancer, ruled herself out of future series last month, having claimed in The Sun that the shows' judges routinely "over-marked" contestants.

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