Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice will go down in Strictly Come Dancing history as one of the show's most memorable pairings. The duo's stunning routines and affectionate partnership captivated the nation during the show's 19th season, which ended with the pair's historic win.
Rose became the first deaf contestant to lift the iconic glitterball trophy and while she has her own hard work and determination to thank for becoming the 2021 champion, she has also praised Giovanni for his dedication in the training room. Here's what the actress has said about working with the Italian dancer.
Giovanni adapted training for Rose and listened to her during rehearsals
Both Giovanni and Rose were faced with a new challenge when the EastEnders star signed up for the show. Rose had to learn to dance without being able to hear the music, whilst Giovanni had to adapt his training style.
Speaking about how supportive the Italian pro was in arranging the choreography, Rose previously told The Telegraph: "I started off finding dancing very confusing.
"It was a strange new skill. But Giovanni was so good. He listened and learnt a lot from me. We learnt very quickly that, if we were together, I could follow him."
On learning how to dance with one another, she explained: "If he left me alone, it was much harder for me to be on time. He had to arrange the choreography so that I could see him all the time. That took time."
Giovanni was 'always there to catch her'
Ahead of the semi-finals in December 2021, Rose praised Giovanni for taking "a leap of faith" by coupling up with her on the show, and said how important trust was in their pairing.
"'A leap of faith,' what a perfect phrase to sum up our partnership," she wrote on Instagram. "Trust is super important in dance and I’ve learnt that very quickly.
"I know Giovanni is always there to catch me and that's what makes him so good at what he does! Thank you for not dropping me Gio, I appreciate that."
Giovanni got super sweaty in training
While it might be many Strictly fans' dream to get up close and personal with Giovanni, Rose wasn't too impressed when she came into contact with the Italian hunk's sweat during rehearsals.
In a hilarious video shown on It Takes Two back in December 2021, the pair were dancing in hold before Giovanni pulled away. Rose then held out her hand with an unimpressed look on her face. "Sweaty," she said to the camera, before wiping her palm.
From across the room, Giovanni shouted: "Stop doing the sweaty!"
Rose responded: "You're just very sweaty," to which her partner quipped: "People will pay to have this sweat. People will pay to be that close with me!"
Giovanni was a great teacher
In order to learn the routines each week, Rose had to commit the steps to muscle memory and count them in her head.
After lifting the glitterball trophy, Rose hailed Giovanni as a good teacher and praised him for helping her keep in time even when she was dancing alone.
"Giovanni has been incredible," she told The Guardian. "He really supports every single step – and I mean every single step: even when I'm doing stuff on my own he, off-camera, is giving me timing.
"There are a lot of ups and downs and some dances are harder than others. But Giovanni is such a good teacher, and he's really adapted to the way I learn, rather than making me learn it in his way."