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Strictly's first behind-the-scenes photo has someone noticeably missing

Can you believe it's Strictly Come Dancing rehearsal time already?

Hanna Fillingham

It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago that last year's winners were being crowned on Strictly Come Dancing, and fans were speculating Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez's budding romance, but fast forward to July and training has started to take place ahead of the new series in September. On Monday, professional dancer Aljaz Skorjanec took to Instagram to share a group behind-the-scenes photo of the dancers in the studio, which included the likes of Anton du Beke, Kevin Clifton and AJ Pritchard. However, noticibly missing from the snapshot were all the female dancers. "@bbcstrictly BOYS 2018," Aljaz wrote next to the photo.

The Strictly gang back together - minus the girls!

Despite half the group missing from the photo, fans were quick to share their excitement at finding out that rehearsals were now under way. "Good luck guys so good to see you all together," one wrote, while another said: "Wow, what a gorgeous bunch." Others reflected on another missing person from the photo – former Strictly pro Brendan Cole – who was axed from the show at the beginning of the year. "Nice group but miss Brendan," one viewer remarked.

READ: This year's rumoured Strictly line-up

Strictly later released a group photo with the girls too

MORE: Brendan Cole opens up about his rumoured affair with Natasha Kaplinsky

On Monday, the BBC announced that the Strictly red carpet event (during which this year's celebrities are revealed) will take place on 27 August, followed by the launch show on 31 August. Because the show is known to be pre-recorded, it's thought that the first episode will air on Saturday 1 September. Rumoured stars set to appear in the latest series of the popular dance show include Scarlett Moffatt, Coleen Rooney and even Mary Berry – who recently showcased her skills for performance when she went on stage with Rick Astley at Camp Bestival last week.

We can't wait to see who will be among the celebrity line-up this year

READ: Strictly's Karen Clifton pays emotional tribute to estranged husband Kevin

This year, Strictly will have a bigger professional cast than ever before - bringing the total number of dancers to 18. Brendan Cole and fellow dancer Chloe Hewitt are the only two to miss out on a contract renewal, while all other favourites are returning. Louise Rainbow, who is executive producer on Strictly, said at the time: "A huge thank you goes to Brendan from all of us for 15 amazing series of Strictly. We wish him all the very best with his future projects. We would also like to thank Chloe and wish her well."

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