Strictly Come Dancing: How Rose Ayling-Ellis will hear the music

Last updated at 06:34

It is nearly time for this year's Strictly Come Dancing contestants to take to the floor and compete for the glitter ball trophy - and actor Rose Ayling-Ellis is ready to go!

Rose plays Frankie Lewis on the popular BBC One soap, Eastenders, and will be Strictly's first ever deaf contestant.

Some people have wondered how the 26-year-old will be able to keep to the beat if she cannot listen to the music, but Rose is excited to challenge that misunderstanding and educate others.

"A lot of people think that deaf people can't hear the music, enjoy the music, and enjoy dancing, so I thought it would be a good platform for me to break that stereotype," she said.

Rose joined the cast of Eastenders in 2020

"It is a common misconception that deaf people can't enjoy music." says Rose.

"I have a hearing aid, so I pick up some of the music and I can hear the beat. I can hear someone singing, but I can't identify exact words. I also feel the vibrations."

Strictly is performed in front of a live band, conducted by the brilliant Dave Arch and the music can be felt through the dance floor in the studio.

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Meet the deaf kids that are smashing it on the dance floor

Rose will also work with her professional partner to stay in time with the beat.

"I will be focusing on reading my partner's body language plus counting in my head, which will help me with timing," she says. "So for me it's a combination of everything."

"However," she points out, "not all deaf people are the same, every deaf person will have their own unique experience with music.

I do love music and I can't wait to be taught how to dance at a professional level for Strictly!"

"To be the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing is sooooo exciting.. and a little bit scary.

Rose Ayling-Ellis
Rose Ayling-Ellis hopes to "break down more barriers" as part of this year's Strictly line-up

Sarah James, the executive producer of Strictly, says the production staff have been working with the actress to learn more about how they can best support her.

"Already, the team and I have learned a lot from Rose," said Sarah. "She's an amazing person, she is also very honest about what she needs and what we need to adapt, so it's been an ongoing conversation.

"All the team are doing deaf awareness training, which has been brilliant, and we're learning some sign language, and that's been brilliant as well."

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly
Rose Ayling-Ellis will have an interpreter for her chats with presenters Claudia Winkleman (left) and Tess Daly

Earlier in the year Rose was asked what the response from the deaf community has been to her taking part in Strictly, "They are very excited. But it will also be interesting to see the reaction from a hearing audience" she said.

"And I just hope a lot of good will come out of it, that will improve deaf people's experience. They [the deaf community] will hope that a lot of people's attitudes will change, and that deaf people get better experience, get more jobs, get more involved in the industry, and it becomes more inclusive."

She added: "I feel like I have a purpose, because I'm deaf, and to be the first deaf person on Strictly, I feel like it's a good chance to break the stereotype of what deaf people can and can't do."

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