The glitter has barely been swept from the floor after Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton’s 2018 win, but already Strictly Come Dancing’s roster of professionals has been announced for the new series.
We’ll see the celebrity dance contest take to the ballroom for a 17th series in 2019 with some of the show’s biggest names returning for another crack at the title.
Here’s who you’ll see stepping out with a new celebrity partner in the autumn…and who you won’t.
The Male Dancers
He may be the baby face of the group, but AJ is a serious competitor – he’s made the semi-final all three years that he’s starred in Strictly, partnering Claudia Fragapane, Mollie King, and Lauren Steadman.
AJ has also won titles in his own career as British Open Youth Latin Champion and European Youth Latin Champion.
He represented his home country of Slovenia on the world ballroom stage for more than 10 years, and now Aljaz is enjoying a glittering career in Strictly.
Aljaz won the glitterball trophy in his first year, 2013, with Abbey Clancy, and in the most recent series partnered news reader Kate Silverton.
He has been married to fellow Strictly pro Janette Manrara since 2017.
Anton Du Beke
The show wouldn’t be the same without Mr Strictly himself, Anton Du Beke.
He’s brought some of the show’s most memorable moments over the years, including his Titanic dance with Ann Widdecombe and emerging from Susannah Constantine’s dress last year.
Anton’s other partners have included Jerry Hall, Nancy Dell’Olio and Judy Murray, but despite having danced in the show every series since it started and reaching the final with Katie Derham in 2015, he has never won.
Sicilian dancer Giovanni may be the butt of some good-natured jokes from his co-stars, but there’s nothing to be laughed at when it comes to his Strictly achievements.
He has danced in four series of the show so far and has reached the final three times – with Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee, and most recently Faye Tozer.
Giovanni is currently dating another 2018 contestant, Ashley Roberts.
Gorka began dancing at the age of 12 and has represented Spain across the globe in Latin championships.
He has been in the Strictly pros crew since 2016 and reached the final in 2017 with Alexandra Burke – the same year that he started dating another contestant, Gemma Atkinson, who he is now expecting a baby with.
Graziano Di Prima
In 2018, Graziano was the show’s much-touted new signing who even got his own introductory dance when the series began.
However, despite looking like a promising pair with Vick Hope, they were a shock elimination in the early weeks so we didn’t end up seeing too much of Graziano – although he’s back for 2019.
Another new signing for 2018 was Johannes Radebe, who joined the pro troupe for group dances but didn’t have a celebrity partner on the show.
If Johannes does get a partner this time, they could have hit the jackpot as he has reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing South Africa twice.
All hail King Kevin, the current reigning champion of the ballroom after lifting the glitterball trophy with Stacey Dooley in 2018.
He’s been one of Strictly’s most popular dancers since joining in 2013 and has reached the final five times, but only won once. He is currently starring in West End show Rock of Ages as Stacee Jaxx.
Dancing is in Kevin’s blood – he was taught by his former World Champion parents, his sister Joanne has also won Strictly as a professional dancer with Ore Oduba, and his former wife Karen Clifton is one of the pros, too.
He’s been a part of the Strictly pros group since 2016 and has partnered celebrities in two Christmas specials, but has never yet been given a partner for the main show – could 2019 be his year?
Neil is the four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion and the three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships with his wife Katya Jones, another Strictly pro who hit headlines in 2018 when she was caught kissing her dance partner Seann Walsh.
The Female Dancers
Welsh dancer Amy grew up watching Strictly and in 2017 achieved her dream of being cast in the show.
She has been a British National Champion in ballroom and Latin, and her partners so far on the show have been Brian Conley and Danny John-Jules.
Australian Open Champion Dianne has toured the world with the dance company Burn the Floor, and was one of the pros on the Australian version of Strictly before she joined the UK show in 2017.
Last series, Dianne reached the final with social media star Joe Sugg, who she is now in a relationship with.
Strictly favourite Janette had an exciting career in dance long before she joined the BBC show in 2013 – she performed with Jennifer Lopez at the Oscars, was a principal dancer on TV series Glee, and reached the final of US contest So You Think You Can Dance.
Janette, who comes from Miami, has won the Strictly Christmas special twice, been paired with celebrities including Jake Wood, Peter Andre and Dr Ranj on the main show, and is married to fellow Strictly pro Aljaz Skorjanec.
The longest-serving female pro on Strictly, Karen has been a popular dancer with the viewers and the contestants since she joined in 2012.
Her previous celebrity partners have included Jeremy Vine, Mark Wright, and most recently Charles Venn, who she reached the quarter-finals with in 2018.
Venezuelan and New York-raised Karen has titles for United Amateur American Rhythm National Champion and Professional World Mambo Champion, and was a contestant on the US series So You Think You Can Dance.
Russian dancer Katya has won a clutch of trophies with her husband and Strictly pro Neil – the World Amateur Latin Championships, the World Professional Latin Showdance Championships, and the British National Professional Championships four times.
She won Strictly with Joe McFadden and is famed for her Gangnam Style routine with Ed Balls, but she must be hoping that everyone will forget about last year’s controversial partnership with comedian Seann Walsh.
Luba may only have been cast as one of the pro dancers in 2018, but she has been a part of the Strictly family for years as an assistant choreographer.
Her titles include being the four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship, and winning the Italian Open Latin Show Dance. She’s also worked extensively with Broadway and West End show Burn the Floor.
Nadiya has multiple titles as the Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion, is a two-time World Champion and a European Champion in ballroom and Latin.
Her Strictly partners have included Davood Ghadami and Lee Ryan, who was a surprise early elimination in the second public vote of the 2018 series.
Popular Strictly pro Oti Mabuse joined the UK show in 2015 and reached the final in 2016 with celebrity partner Danny Mac.
She is an eight-time South African Latin American Champion in her home country and has previously starred in Let’s Dance, the German version of Strictly.
This year, viewers got to know Oti a little better when she featured as a judge and team captain in BBC One’s new dance contest, The Greatest Dancer, which was won by teen Ellie Fergusson who she mentored.
Nancy Xu - New Dancer
The only new professional to join Strictly this series is Nancy Xu.
Nancy, from China, is a world-class Latin dancer who has competed all over the globe, including a bronze at the National Amateur Latin Championships and being named runner-up at the International Singapore Championships.
The 28-year-old was a finalist in China's So You Think You Can Dance, and has featured in the West End and Broadway casts of Strictly-star-studded show Burn the Floor.
She said: “I'm thrilled and excited! I cannot wait to start this new journey with all these amazing people and share the magic together.”
Who isn’t Returning
Russian dancer Pasha is the only big name pro not being brought back for this year’s competition.
He had a smashing run in 2018 with the uber talented Ashley Roberts, but the couple ultimately fell foul of the viewer backlash against experienced performer Ashley taking part in an amateur competition.
Pasha has been a part of Strictly Come Dancing since 2011 and won in 2014 with Caroline Flack, finishing as runner-up with Ashley, Chelsee Healey, and Kimberley Walsh.
He also met his partner, Countdown star Rachel Riley, on the show after they were paired in 2013, but announced that 2018 would be his last year on the BBC series as he wanted to find a new challenge.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One for series 17 on September 7.
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