Strictly Come Dancing has just lost another professional dancer as favourite Gleb Savchenko has decided to quit the show.
The BBC confirmed that Russian-born Gleb, who only joined the show last year, would not be returning for a second appearance due to family commitments.
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“I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing and especially the way that the UK gave me such a warm welcome,” the professional dancer said.
“But due to family commitments I won’t be returning to the show for the next series. I’ll definitely be tuning in though.”
He joins Kristina Rihanoff, Ola Jordan, Aliona Vilani and relative newcomer Tristan MacManus in leaving the show - making room for some new professional dancers to come on board.
The three new dance experts to sign up are: World Latin showdance champion Katya Jones, Latin dancer Gorka Marquez and Dancing With The Stars pro Oksana Platero.
Russian-born Katya Jones, the wife and partner of British dancer Neil Jones (one of Strictly’s choreographers), who are four times undefeated British National Professional Champions, said: “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!”
New male dancer Gorka Marquez, who specialises in Latin dancing and toured with global ballroom phenomenon Burn the Floor, admitted: “I feel very excited and grateful to be joining Strictly Come Dancing and to be one of the professional dancers for the new series. It’s something that every dancer dreams of and something that I always wanted to have the opportunity to do.”
While Ukrainian dancer Oksana Platero, who danced for five seasons on the US show Dancing with the Stars, expressed her joy over being selected for the competition: “Words cannot describe how extremely excited I am to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family this year. I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity. It feels so surreal and I cannot wait to get started.”
Returning to showcase their fancy footwork are male dancers, Anton du Beke, Brendan Cole, Kevin Clifton, Pasha Kovalev, Aljaž Škorjanec and Giovanni Pernice; with Karen Clifton, Natalie Lowe, Joanne Clifton, Janette Manrara and Oti Mabuse completing the ladies line-up.
Louise Rainbow, the show’s executive producer, said: “We are delighted with our professional dancer line up this year and we welcome three new stunning dancers to our Strictly family.”
Strictly will air on BBC One in September – when we will also find out which celebrities are taking part.