Group dance routines “may be in jeopardy” for this year’s Strictly, says ex-pro AJ

The former Strictly professional suggests that the series air repeats of group dances if coronavirus restrictions are still in place by the autumn.

AJ Pritchard

While Strictly Come Dancing fans are relying on a 2020 series to lift the nation’s spirits in autumn, former Strictly professional AJ Pritchard has said that it will “definitely” go ahead, but the beloved group routines “may be in jeopardy”.

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Speaking to RadioTimes.com with his brother and Love Island star Curtis Pritchard, AJ said: “I think the show will definitely go ahead in some capacity. For me, the only thing is that professionals would usually start in August, end of July and spend four to five weeks together, doing the professional routines, the group routines.”

“I think that that part of it may be in jeopardy slightly,” he said. “But they can always show repeats of the group dances each week from previous years.”

He added that hopefully by the autumn, the UK will be “in a safer position for everybody to get back together again” on Strictly.

AJ, who joined Strictly in 2016, announced in March that he would not be returning to the show for its 2020 series, but instead hopes to pursue a presenting career alongside his brother Curtis.

“I’ve had four fantastic years on Strictly Come Dancing, but for us it’s about moving forward and the end goal is to present a shiny-floored Saturday night TV show that we all love, for example, Strictly, Britain’s Got Talent – those sort of shows,” he said.

AJ and Curtis Pritchard
AJ and his brother Curtis

In recent months, there have been reports of Strictly’s upcoming series complying with social distancing measures by axing the studio audience, removing Dave Arch’s orchestra and quarantining its celebrity line-up.

“There are dances you can do separately – your charleston, your jive,” AJ said on the topic of socially distanced dancing. “There’s always a way, where there’s a will.”

When asked what performing on Strictly would be like without a studio audience, AJ said: “You get so much support from your fellow colleagues, the crew, the camera people, hair, make-up and they give you the feeling that you want to perform – if you’ve worked hard all week, whether there is an audience or not, you’re still going to give the same 110 per cent.”

Curtis, who was a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars in Ireland, added: “I’m not going to lie, without an audience they could just dub in a bit of clapping. It would work great on TV.”

Both brothers were recently appointed as ambassadors for the British Dyslexia Association, having been diagnosed with the condition at a young age.

“Growing up, I actually didn’t want to be labelled as dyslexic, I thought it was a problem, but I realised it’s actually moulded me into the person I am. It isn’t something that’s bad, it’s something that actually allows you to become creative,” Curtis said. “You may be a little bit slower at the reading or the writing, but it’s about finding a way that works for you.”

AJ added: “When it came down to being at schools and having to talk to thousands of kids in assembly, or now as an adult, having to learn scripts for pantomime or talking off an autocue, we just do things slightly differently.”

“I think for us, our parents were very key to that and our dancing has always been about the hard work paying off in the end,” he added.

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