What The New Dancers Mean For Strictly

As Strictly announces four new professional dancers, The Recs looks at who they are and what they might mean for Strictly Come Dancing.

As Strictly Come Dancing gears up for another rating-busting series, there is excitement as they announce four new professional dancers joining the show this year. The addition of Vito Coppola, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley and Michelle Tsiakkas means that there are 20 pro dancers ready to take to the dancefloor – the largest number of professional dancers Strictly ever had on one series.

The Recs wonders why this big increase – from 16 to 20 dancers? Surely it can be only one of two reasons? Either this year’s Strictly is going to have more celebrity couples or the production team are being extra cautious in case Covid rears its ugly head again. Given the popularity of Strictly, it’s easy to see why more celebs would sign up and why the BBC certainly wouldn’t mind an extra couple of weeks of its ratings winner. And neither would we!

So who are the new four dancers?

Vito Coppola

© BBC and @vitocoppola_real Instagram

Age: 29

Nationality: Italian

Previous experience: Vito won last year’s Ballando Con Le Stelle, Italy’s version of Strictly

The Recs Take: Well hunky Vito has certain caught our eye – but what will Giovanni Pernice make of the newcomer? Is there room for two Italian stallions in the Strictly ballroom? What’s Italian for ‘I should coco?’

Let’s watch Vito dance: Yes, he is shirtless

Lauren Oakley

© BBC and @laurenmayoakley Instagram

Age: 31

Nationality: British

Previous experience: Lauren has danced as part of Burn The Floor and with Giovanni Pernice and Anton DuBeke on their Him & Me tour

The Recs Take: Strictly feels like it is in Birmingham-born Lauren’s DNA. Having danced with not only Anton and Giovanna, she has also partnered Kevin Clifton (he’s from Grimsby you know) on Burn The Floor. 

Let’s watch Lauren dance: The video is an older one but Lauren’s sass is unmistakable. 

Carlos Gu

© BBC and @gkx_carlos Instagram

Age: ??

Nationality: Chinese

Previous experience: Chinese National champion and multiple world semi-finalist.

The Recs Take: While Carlos is no stranger to dance competitions, it’s worth noting he has experience in ballroom, ballet and contemporary dance. 

Let’s watch Carlos dance: Check out his super sharp moves

Michelle Tsiakkas

© BBC and @michelle_tsiak Instagram

Age: ??

Nationality: Cypriot

Previous experience: Was undefeated champion, winning national titles in Cyprus for ten years in a row. Like so many other Strictly pros, she has performed in the hit dance show Burn The Floor.

The Recs Take: Michelle will certainly add some extra glamour to the Strictly ballroom though you do wonder does Burn The Floor have any dancers left?

Let’s watch Michelle dance: Let’s hope the Strictly costume department gives Michelle a better outfit than a glittery merkin with a wedding veil attached. 

These four Strictly newbies will join (in alphabetical order) Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Márquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystał, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

Although we will miss Oti Mabuse and Aljaž Škorjanec, Strictly Come Dancing always manages to find new stars among their professional dancers.  We can’t wait!