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Strictly’s Rose Ayling-Ellis reveals the challenges she’s found with ballroom dances

The EastEnders star has revealed the one accessibility hurdle she didn't think of before starting the competition.

Rose Ayling-Ellis
Published: Tuesday, 26th October 2021 at 1:01 pm

Strictly Come Dancing's Rose Ayling-Ellis has spoken about the accessibility challenges she's discovered whilst competing in the BBC One dance competition, revealing that there's a specific difficulty around ballroom routines for deaf contestants.


When asked whether she'd encountered any unforeseen challenges during her Strictly Come Dancing experience, Ayling-Ellis told in an exclusive interview that there was just one hurdle she'd come across so far.

"The really good thing about Strictly is that we planned all of this right before I started it to make sure none of this happened. So I have deaf awareness training, every single person had deaf awareness training, I have an interpreter with me, everything is set up.

"The one thing that I didn't think of is for ballroom – I can't lipread! I didn't think of that one."

The EastEnders star explained that when in ballroom hold, she's facing away from her professional partner Giovanni Pernice and so cannot lipread, with Pernice adding: "Because she's looking the other way when we're doing ballroom."

Ayling-Ellis continued: "And he keeps giving me instructions and I'm like, 'What?' and he's like, 'Stay in your position!'.

"It's a bigger challenge for Giovanni because he has to stop, explain, do it again, stop, explain, do it again. So you have to be really patient for that."

The actress performed a viennese waltz to Alicia Keys hit Fallin' on Saturday, which landed them in second place on the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard, just one point behind John Whaite and Johannes Radebe.


The BBC One show's producer Sarah James explained how Strictly had adapted for its first deaf contestant back in September, saying that the team had undertaken deaf awareness training and started learning some sign language also.

Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday on BBC One. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.

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