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Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Meet the professional dancers in the biggest line-up

Strictly returns to the BBC later this year!


strictly come dancing
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
May 30, 2018
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Strictly Come Dancing will return for its sixteenth series this autumn! On Wednesday, the BBC unveiled the three brand new professional dancers who will take to the Strictly dancefloor as they join the popular series later this year. The new world-class dancers joining the show are Italian Latin Champion Graziano Di Prima, Professional South African Latin Champion Johannes Radebe and four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship Luba Mushtuk. The next series is set to be bigger than ever, bringing a total number of professional dancers to eighteen. Take a look through our gallery to see who will appear on the show this year...

READ: BBC announce Brendan Cole's Strictly Come Dancing replacement

AJ Pritchard

This will be the third series for AJ. He was previously partnered up with Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane and Saturdays singer Mollie King, with the latter reaching the semi-finals last year. He won one of the biggest championships in the world to become British Open Youth Latin Champion and European Youth Latin Champion. He was also the National Youth Latin Champion for three years in a row from 2012-2014.

MORE: The Strictly professionals and their sizzling romances

Aljaz skorjanec© Photo: Getty Images

Aljaž Škorjanec

Aljaz is one of the most beloved dancers, having won the show in 2013 with Abbey Clancy - which also happened to be his first year on the BBC One series. Last year, he was partnered with soap star Gemma Atkinson with the pair making it to the Grand Final. The 28-year-old is also married to fellow Strictly star Janette Manrara.

MORE: The best ever Strictly moments

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Amy Dowden

This year will be Amy's second series, having danced with Brian Conley last year. The Welsh beauty was the 2017 British National Champion and is one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin American professional dancers in the UK.

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Anton Du Beke

Anton has become a household name, who has appeared in every series of Strictly to date. Although he is yet to lift the Glitter Ball trophy, the 51-year-old has a huge legion of loyal fans. Some of his previous partners include Ann Widdecombe, Judy Murray, Lesley Joseph and last year, he danced with Ruth Langsford.

Dianne Buswell© Photo: Getty Images

Dianne Buswell

Like Amy, this will be Dianne's second time of the series. The Australian dancer has appeared on Dancing With The Stars Australia and has been part of the Burn The Floor production on Broadway. She is currently in a relationship with Emmerdale actor Anthony Quinlan.

debbie mcgee Giovanni Pernice© Photo: BBC

Giovanni Pernice

It could be third time lucky for Giovanni this year. He reached the Strictly final with Georgia May Foote and again last year with Debbie McGee! The handsome Italian is one of the show's most adored dancers having appeared in every series since 2015.

gorka marquez© Photo: Getty Images

Gorka Marquez

In 2014, Gorka joined the global Ballroom and Latin dance phenomenon Burn The Floor as one of their leads and has since toured the world with the show. The 27-year-old joined Strictly in 2016; he previously danced with EastEnders star Tameka Empson and last year he made it to the final with Alexandra Burke. He is currently dating Gemma Atkinson after meeting during the last series of Strictly.

Graziano Di Prima instagram© Photo: Instagram

Graziano Di Prima

Graziano is one of the new stars who is replacing former Strictly professional Brendan Cole. The 24-year-old comes from Sicily and is an Italian Lation champion, who has represented Belgium at the World Championships. Over the past three years, Graziano has toured the world with the dance company Burn The Floor.

Who is Graziano Di Prima? Strictly's handsome new professional dancer revealed

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Janette Manrara

Janette joined the Strictly family in 2013. Her previous partners have include Julien Macdonald, Jake Wood, Peter Andre and more recently, Aston Merrygold! The dancer, who is married to fellow Strictly star Aljaž Škorjanec, has also appeared on US show, So You Think You Can Dance.

johannes radebe© Photo: Instagram

Johannes Radebe

Johannes, 31, is one of the three newcomers. He hails from South Africa, and is the two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and three time South African Amateur Latin Champion. The dancer is a member of the Afro Arimba Dance Company, and has appeared on the South Africa version of Strictly for two seasons, and reached the final on both occasions.

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Karen Clifton

Since her Strictly debut in 2012, Karen has become a huge hit among viewers. She previously reached the grand final with Mark Wright in 2014, danced with Will Young and was most recently partnered with Simon Rimmer. In 2009, Karen appeared in the US series So You Think You Can Dance before joining the West End sensation Burn the Floor as a principal dancer. Earlier this year, the 36-year-old announced that she and husband Kevin Clifton have parted ways.

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Katya Jones

Reigning champion Katya delighted fans with her fun and playful routines with Joe McFadden last year. She joined Strictly in 2016 and was partnered with Ed Balls, with their dances going on to becoming some of the most iconic in the show's history. In 2008, Katya and her husband Neil Jones won the World Amateur Latin Championships a total of three times. In 2015, they became the World Professional Latin Showdance Champions and are four times undefeated British National Professional Champions.

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - a look back at the highs and lows

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Kevin Clifton

Loved by all, Kevin is the only professional dancer to reach four consecutive grand finals - but is yet to lift the trophy. He has appeared on the series every year since his debut in 2013. As well as his sister, Joanne Clifton, the dancer was taught by his parents Keith and Judy Clifton from an early age - former World Champions themselves - Kevin went on to win International Open titles all over the world. He also starred in the West End in Dirty Dancing and Burn The Floor, where he met estranged wife Karen Clifton.

luba mushtuk strictly dancer© Photo: Getty Images

Luba Mushtuk

Meet the third and final newcomer, Luba! Fans may already recognise Luba from Strictly. She joined the show in 2016 as an assistant choreographer, helping to create some spectacular routines, but she has also starred as a back-up dancer in some of the group performances.

Who is Luba Mushtuk? Strictly's stunning new professional dancer unveiled

Nadiya Bychkova© Photo: Getty Images

Nadiya Bychkova

Nadiya is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin '10' Dance. She joined the Strictly family last year and made it to the quarter finals with EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami.

neil jones© Photo: Getty Images

Neil Jones

Neil is the undefeated four-time British National Champion and the three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships with his wife Katya. This is the first time Neil is appearing as a professional dancer as a competitor. Last year, he was partnered with Judy Murray for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and with Blue Peter's Konnie Huq for the Children in Need Special.

Oti Mabuse© Photo: Getty Images

Oti Mabuse

Oti joined the show in 2015! She previously reached the final with Danny Mac and made it to Blackpool with Paralympian Jonnie Peacock last year. Oti has achieved many titles in her dancing career including World European Latin semi-finalist and World Cup Championship semi-finalist.

Pasha Kovalev© Photo: Getty Images

Pasha Kovalev

Pasha has been a professional dancer on Strictly since 2011. He has reached the grand final three times and lifted the Glitter Ball Trophy in 2014 with Caroline Flack. His previous celebrity partners include, Chelsee Healey, Kimberley Walsh, Chizzy Akudolu and current girlfriend Rachel Riley.

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