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Pasha Kovalev pays sweet tribute to his Strictly co-stars after dancing with them for last time

This is what he had to say

Hanna Fillingham

Strictly Come Dancing fans up and down the country were left devastated last week when popular pro dancer Pasha Kovalev announced that he wouldn’t be returning to the show. But on Saturday, Pasha danced with his Strictly co-stars for one last time on The Greatest Dancer, and he had the sweetest thing to say about them. Following a group performance with dance captains Cheryl and Oti Mabuse, and Strictly pros including Katya Jones and Dianne Buswell, Pasha said: "2018 was my last season on Strictly. I am so, so, excited to be here to share this beautiful stage with all my Strictly family for one last time."

Pasha Kovalev on The Greatest Dancer

The Strictly performance was missing some of the much-loved pro dancers, including Karen and Kevin Clifton, and couple Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara. While Karen is thought to be taking a break, Kevin was performing in musical Rock of Ages, while Aljaz and Janette were at The Ritz hotel celebrating Aljaz's birthday. Janette revealed on her own Instagram Story that she and her husband have a week's holiday before they start rehearsals for their own touring show, Remembering The Movies.

MORE: Karen Clifton takes new boyfriend to Strictly star's big birthday night out

Pasha recently announced that he wouldn't be returning to Strictly

On Wednesday, the BBC revealed on Twitter that Pasha was leaving Strictly. The post read: "Sadly after eight incredible series, the brilliant @PashaKovalev has decided to leave #Strictly. Pasha, from all of us, thank you for your amazing choreography and routines over the years. You'll be sorely missed!" They later added: "We'd like to say a HUGE thank you to @PashaKovalev for being part of the #Strictly family for 8 wonderful series - you will be missed."

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Shortly afterwards, Pasha took to his own Twitter account to make a statement. He said: "After scoring 93 perfect tens, reaching 4 finals lifting 1 glitter ball, it's time for me to find a new challenge and so I've decided to make last year - my final season on Strictly." He added: "I've had five fantastic years, full of wonderful memories, thanks to the incredible partners, professionals and myriad of behind the scenes teams who all work to make Strictly the amazing production that it is. The biggest thanks go to all the members of the public who've supported me so much over the years - I look forward to seeing you on the Strictly Pro-Tour this spring, and for many future adventures to come!"

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Pasha talks about the Strictly tour to HELLO!

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