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Meet the new Strictly Come Dancing professionals

AJ Pritchard, Chloe Hewitt, Neil Jones, Oksana Platero, Katya Jones and Gorka Marquez are the latest dancers to join Strictly's pro line-up

Published: Sunday, 6th November 2016 at 4:56 pm

Head over here if you're looking for the 2019 professional line-up.


Latin dancer Gorka has been prancing and pirouetting since he was 12 and he's now one of the top dancers in Spain. He represented his country in the World Latin Championships in 2010 and made it to the semi-finals of the 2012 Wolrd DanceSport Federation World Cup. Gorka has also toured the globe as one of the leads in Ballroom and Latin dance phenomenon Burn the Floor.

He's set to join Strictly this autumn – and says he is hoping to bring his cheeky personality and some Latin passion to the ballroom.

"I feel very excited and grateful to be joining Strictly Come Dancing and to be one of the professional dancers for the new series," says Gorka. "It’s something that every dancer dreams of and something that I always wanted to have the opportunity to do."

Russian-born Katya is World Latin Champion. She's been dancing since she was six and is also trained in gymnastics (so expect plenty of tricks!) She won the World Amateur Latin Championships for the first time in 2010 and has since triumphed twice more. Along with her dance partner, Katya holds the title of World Professional Latin Showdance Champions and British National Professional Champions.

She's also hoping to add a Glitterball Trophy of that list. "I am so privileged to be joining Strictly Come Dancing. I know it is extremely intense, but so am I! I am fierce, fabulous, and would love to win!"

Oksana has been dancing competitively since the age of six. She was Ukraine National Youth Champion for three consecutive years before going on to represent the United States.

You might recognise this pro, as Oksana was a dancer on American series Dancing with the Stars for five seasons. She's also worked as a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance. But now it's all about the Strictly ballroom.

"Words cannot describe how extremely excited I am to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family this year," says Oksana. "I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity. It feels so surreal and I cannot wait to get started."

Neil Jones is the undefeated four-time British National Champion. He's also three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships with his wife Katya Jones. Recognise that name? Yeah she's also joining Strictly this year!

Neil is a Ballroom and Latin expert, but he's also trained in tap, modern and ballet. Quite a CV we're sure you'll agree.

"I am so thrilled to be joining the cast of Strictly Come Dancing! As a British dancer I have grown up watching this amazing show, it is a massive honour and I am feeling pumped and excited to be part of the Strictly family," he says.

At just 20-years-old, Chloe is Strictly's youngest pro yet. In fact, she was only eight when the first series of SCD aired and the show inspired her to take up dancing!

Those dance lessons clearly paid off because last year Chester-born Chloe, alongside her dance parter AJ Pritchard (more on him below), was crowned British Open Youth Latin Champion, before going on to become European Champion too.

"My childhood dream of being on Strictly Come Dancing is now reality!" says Chloe. "The sheer excitement is exhilarating and I cannot wait to be part of the Strictly family."

AJ is Chloe's professional dance parter. He's 21-years-old and grew up in Stoke-on-Trent avidly watching the show, too.

During their nine-year competitive career AJ and Chloe have set records by becoming National Youth Latin Champions for three years in a row. Now they are ready to take to the Strictly Come Dancing floor.

"Watch out Strictly, here I come," says AJ. "It is going to be amazing and I feel ecstatic!"


Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 later this year

Strictly Come Dancing 2016: meet the contestants


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