Take a peek inside Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals as dancers meet contestants for the first time

It's all becoming very real

Strictly Come Dancing will be back on our screens in just a few weeks, and it's all starting to feel very real! The professional dancers were introduced to the celebrity contestants for the first time this week in a moment charged with emotion and excitement. The BBC's official Strictly Instagram account shared videos and photos from the big meet, which showed the pro dancers and the stars standing on either sides of a curtain. As the curtain drops, the groups rush to the middle to hug each other and introduce themselves.

Another hilarious video showed dancer Janette Manrara literally sizing up the celebrities to see who would best suit her. As she stands behind rower James Cracknell, who is 6'3", the petite ballroom star shakes her head at the camera, while Giovanni Pernice nods in agreement.

The Strictly pro dancers have finally met the contestants

The first meeting also saw the dancers and the celebrities take part in a group warm-up session, after which comedian Chris Ramsey told Strictly fans: "You could see the men's chiselled jaws and biceps, it was demoralising, very demoralising. I think we looked like a big mass of flubber." "Very demoralising," said Paralympian Will Bayley. "But we gone for it."

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The celebrities waited patiently to meet the dancers

And hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly were on hand to witness the moment the stars met the dancers, with Claudia revealing: "There's a lot of chat, it's never been this loud, I can't hear myself think!" "They are bonding like crazy," added Tess.

The seventeenth series of Strictly is expected to return to screens in early September. This year's line-up comprises ex-footballer David James, EastEnders star Emma Barton, Olympic and Paralympic champions James Cracknell and Will Bayley, BBC Radio 1's Dev Griffin, Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, former Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley, YouTuber Saffron Barker, BBC Breakfast reporter Mike Bushell, Drag Race's Michelle Visage, footballer-turned-pundit Alex Scott, Viscountess Emma Weymouth, comedian Chris Ramsey and CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual. TV presenter Anneka Rice was the 15th and final announcement.

The dancers and stars took part in a group warm-up session

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Over the weekend, it was confirmed that Australian Queen of Pop Kylie Minogue will open the much-anticipated 17th season of Strictly by performing a show-stopping medley of some of her biggest hits. The pint-sized popstar will be accompanied by a dazzling routine from Strictly's professional dancers.

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