Our three new professional dancers are all Champions from the Ballroom and Latin world; Dianne Buswell from Australia, Nadiya Bychkova from Ukraine and Amy Dowden from Wales. They will join Strictly Come Dancing when we return in September to BBC One.
Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova and Amy Dowden
Those returning to the Strictly dance floor once again are Anton du Beke, Brendan Cole, Kevin Clifton, Neil Jones, Pasha Kovalev, Gorka Marquez, Aljaž Škorjanec, Giovanni Pernice and AJ Pritchard; alongside Karen Clifton, Chloe Hewitt, Katya Jones, Janette Manrara and Oti Mabuse.
Dianne Buswell is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist. She has appeared on Dancing with the Stars Australia and has been part of the Burn The Floor production on Broadway since 2011. She said: “What an honour it is to be a part of Strictly Come Dancing! Words can’t describe how excited I am to take on this amazing challenge and give it my everything! See you on the dance floor!”
Nadiya Bychkova from Ulkraine is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin ‘10’ Dance. She is a multiple-time Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion and has taken part in the Bosnian version of Strictly. She said: “I'm extremely happy to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family this year. One of my biggest dreams is to be part of this great show and I can't wait to get started!"
Amy Dowden is from Caerphilly, South Wales and began dancing at the age of eight. She is the current British National Champion and one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin American professional dancers in the UK. Amy is also a four-time British National Finalist and in 2015, she reached the semi-final of the World Championship. She said: “Becoming a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has made my wildest dreams come true, it does not feel real! I have always been proud of my Welsh roots and feel so honoured to be the first Welsh professional dancer on the most loved show on TV!”
Our three new professional dancers will replace Joanne Clifton and Oksana Platero who are leaving the series, along with Natalie Lowe who previously announced she was not returning. Strictly thanks them for their contribution to the show and wishes them all the very best for the future!
Louise Rainbow, Executive Producer, Strictly Come Dancing said: “We’re delighted with our line-up of pros for this year’s series. They are all brilliant dancers and wonderful teachers and Strictly is so lucky to have them. I would like to thank Natalie, Joanne and Oksana for their hard work and the amazing contribution they have made to the show and wish them all well for the future.”
Joanne, the current Strictly champion, will return to the Strictly ballroom one last time. She will perform the winners’ routine with her celebrity partner Ore Oduba at the start of the new series. Joanne said: "Being part of the Strictly experience has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I will miss the show so much. It’s been a tough decision but I am looking forward to facing new challenges and focusing on my musical theatre career.”
Oksana said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone involved with Strictly. Last year was my first season and I had an unforgettable time working alongside such amazing dancers and an even better time with Judge Rinder. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I will never forget it. Thank you so much for the memories.”
At the time of her announcement, Natalie said: “This was a very difficult decision for me not to accept the invitation to appear on this season of Strictly. It is with a very heavy heart that I have arrived at this decision. I’ll be forever grateful for the amazing time, opportunities and memories Strictly has created for me. My time on the programme has been everything that I dreamed it would be and more, from the friendships I developed, the amazing dances I was able to perform in and the experiences that Strictly provided me. It truly has been an incredible and extraordinary experience.”