shirleyballassmiling

Strictly Come Dancing stars tease secret routine with judge Shirley Ballas ahead of new series

We can't wait to see what they've been up to!

Diane Shipley

Excitement is mounting for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, which airs its first live show on 21 September. But while we can't wait to find out which celebrities will be paired with which dancers, and how well they each carry off their jives, foxtrots, and waltzes, we're also excited to see exactly what the professional dancers have planned. The pros pull out all the stops every year, and this time it looks like they'll have a little extra help from someone who doesn't normally give them advice until after they've finished dancing.

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Head judge Shirley welcomed Motsi Mabuse to the panel

Janette Manrara, who danced with TV doctor Dr Ranj last year, posted a picture to her Instagram stories that showed the professionals had been in rehearsal with head judge Shirley Ballas on Tuesday. Dressed in a casual black workout outfit, Shirley posed in the centre of the group of dancers, all of them looking happy but tired. Janette captioned her picture: "Great to have you today @shirleyballas," adding a gif of Winnie the Pooh dancing.

MORE: New Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse asks fans to forgive her for Blackpool criticism

It's not clear whether Shirley was just advising the group about an ambitious new routine or whether (everything crossed) the former dancer and respected teacher, who was a two-time Latin champion in the 1990s, had dusted off her dancing shoes and joined in herself. Either way, the 58-year old certainly looked like she was having fun. The show had its red carpet launch on Monday, which was the first time the new group of judges were together. South African dance champion (and sister of Strictly pro Oti Mabuse) Motsi Mabuse will join the group this year after taking over from retired ballerina Darcey Bussell.

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The dancer gave a behind-the-scenes glimpse into rehearsals

READ: Strictly Come Dancing star Anneka Rice fears for future on show after suffering injury

Shirley will continue to head the panel, and Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, who have both been with the show since it started in 2004, will also return. This year's star-studded cast is set to include Viscountess Weymouth, Emma Thynn, Olympic rower James Cracknell, and RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.

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