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Aliona Vilani

Winner of Strictly series nine, Russian Aliona is a dance force to be reckoned with!

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Aliona Vilani

Aliona first appeared on Strictly in 2009 when she was paired with Rav Wilding. The couple left the competition in week three with Aliona commenting that ''Rav was such a lovely guy; it was such a shame to go out so early''.

I am the pussycat of the Ballroom world!
Aliona Vilani

The following year Aliona was partnered with The One Show presenter Matt Baker. The pair danced together to the final as runners-up, loosing out to winners Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev.

In 2011, Aliona lifted the Glitterball trophy with Harry Judd, winning series nine of Strictly. When Aliona first joined Strictly she thought the judges were shocked by some of her more modern, risqué choreography. But with her success of winning with Harry, it seems the judges had warmed to her innovative ideas.

Alas, for the next three series, Aliona's winning streak was not set to continue. In 2012, while teamed with veteran TV Presenter Johnny Ball, Aliona picked up a hairline fracture during training and bowed out early, only for Johnny to be voted out in week one. In 2013 she and professional golfer Tony Jacklin were sent to the clubhouse in week two after their golf-themed Charleston scored joint-bottom with Julien Macdonald and Janette Manrara. And then there was last year, which saw another early exit with Gregg Wallace - the first exit of 2014 in week two. It's not all doom and gloom though. Aliona tied the knot in April 2014 with her beau Vincent Kavanagh on the Caribbean island of St Thomas. And perhaps with her new People's Strictly partner, Michael Pattie, they might just scoop the glitterball trophy this time round!


At the age of five, Aliona was enrolled in the arts gymnasium for classical ballet and performing arts. She started ballroom dancing in Russia when she turned 11 years old. Soon after this she began making the finals in Eastern European competitions.

In 1997, Aliona was invited to go to the United States to be a member of the Kaiser Dance Academy in Brooklyn, New York. It was here that she started learning Salsa, Hip Hop and Jazz in the prestigious Broadway Dance Center in New York.

In 2001, Aliona was selected by the National Dance Congress to be a part of the US team in the Ballroom category that competed against the World Teams and won the Amateur Ballroom category for the US.

Aliona moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and has continued competing, dancing in shows and teaching there since.


Aliona loves to draw. She has an art major of excellence in Fashion Design, Costume Design and Painting.

Aliona's also an outdoor type of girl and an avid skier. Her parents met at a ski resort and started her on the slopes at the age of 5, and since then she's skied everywhere from Russia to Colorado.

Her speciality is Ten Dance.

Michael and Aliona's Samba

Michael Pattie and Aliona Vilani dance the Samba to ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’

Michael Pattie and Aliona Vilani dance the Samba to ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’