Aljaz Skorjanec quits 'Strictly Come Dancing'

Aljaz Skorjanec has quit Strictly Come Dancing. (BBC)
Aljaz Skorjanec has quit Strictly Come Dancing. (BBC)

Aljaz Skorjanec has become the latest pro performer to quit Strictly Come Dancing, exiting the show after nine years in the cast.

Slovenian-born ballroom and Latin champion Skorjanec, 32, had become a firm favourite with viewers after winning his first series on the BBC One show in 2013 with model Abbey Clancy.

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He announced his departure on social media on Monday morning, revealing that he had decided "a little while ago" that the 2021 series would be his last on the show.

Describing his role on Strictly as having "changed my life forever", he wrote: "A dream became a reality and it was the biggest opportunity for a 23 year old boy from Slovenia. It didn’t matter how many beautiful ballrooms I performed in during my competitive career, stepping onto the sacred Strictly floor was the most nervous I had ever been."

'Strictly Come Dancing' dancers Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara are married but living in separate bubbles. (Getty Images)
Aljaz Skorjanec and wife Janette Manrara both performed on the show. (Getty Images)

Earlier this year, fellow pro dancer Oti Mabuse also announced that she would not return to the Strictly cast, and Skorjanec's wife Janette Manrara quit the show before the 2021 series began, becoming a co-host of spin-off series Strictly: It Takes Two instead.

Skorjanec wrote: "A little while ago I made the tough decision that Strictly 2021 would be my last. The show has given me an opportunity and freedom to create and express myself in front of millions of people every weekend for the last 9 years. The love and support I got from the team of producers was second to none."

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He added: "Being a part of a group of professionals that inspire and push you to be better every step of the way is humbling and I will carry that inspiration with me forever. Every year the lineup of dancers would change but one thing stayed the same, WE WERE THE BEST! And this is one thing that I know will never change on Strictly!

The dancer also thanked his celebrity partners on the show, as well as wife Manrara.

352896,Picture shows: Aljaz Skorjanec, Sara Davies **LIVE SHOW**,Aljaz Skorjanec, Sara Davies,39,0 00:00:00
Aljaz Skorjanec danced with Sara Davies in 2021. (BBC)

He wrote: "My beautiful partners - Abbey Clancy, Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe, Kate Silverton, Gemma Atkinson, Emma Weymouth, Clara Amfo and Sara Davies.

"It's hard to put into words how many beautiful memories we have had. I LOVE YOU ALL!

"To my bucka.. from picking songs, creating stories and choreographing steps we always did it as a team. Your talent and selflessness knows no bounds. We were dating when we started together on the show and now we are husband and wife. We got to perform with Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, BBC Symphony Orchestra.. moments I will keep in my heart forever. I LOVE YOU!"

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Skorjanec finished: "And finally, thank YOU, the people that watch Strictly who have been so kind to me all these years. Every comment, vote, kind message never went unnoticed. You are the reason we all do it, thank you!"

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec attend the launch photocall for the Strictly Come Dancing live tour 2014 at NIA Arena on January 16, 2014 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Steve Thorne/Getty Images)
Aljaz Skorjanec won the series with Abbey Clancy. (Getty Images)

He added that he had "lots of exciting stuff planned" that would be announced at a later date.

Strictly executive producer Sarah James said: "We are so sad to be saying goodbye to Aljaž after almost a decade as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing.

"Since lifting the glitterball with Abbey Clancy in his debut series he has become a firm favourite with viewers across the country. During his nine series he has provided us with some unforgettable moments on the show through his incredible choreography, passion for dance and heart of gold.

"He will be missed by his Strictly family, both on and off the dancefloor, and we wish him only the very best as he embarks on his next chapter."

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