AJ Pritchard confirms Strictly’s professional dancers will perform in same-sex partnerships

The dance pro has been practising with Gorka Marquez

Strictly Come Dancing: AJ Pritchard

Strictly Come Dancing 2018 will feature same-sex professional dance pairs for the first time.

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AJ Pritchard revealed he has been practising with fellow pro Gorka Marquez, as the upcoming series of the BBC dance contest will see professional dancers team up with members of the same sex during routines.

“I did a routine the other day with [fellow pro dancer] Gorka Marquez,” he told Attitude Magazine. It had a paso doble/Argentine tango feel and we were technically dancing it together as a partnership,” Pritchard – who was paired with Mollie King in last year’s run – said. “The strength of having two males dancing — or two females — is unrivalled.”

However, he added that he believes Strictly bosses are likely to maintain the male/female celebrity and pro pairing for the time being.

The inclusion of same-sex partnerships has been a point of contention surrounding the series since comedian Susan Calman took flak last year for agreeing to dance with a man. Will Young has previously said that the narrative suggesting gay contestants should want to dance with members of the same sex was “insulting”, while Judge Rinder wrote in Radio Times that attempting to “politicise” the show would dilute its effect.

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Strictly Come Dancing returns this autumn