Strictly’s Ellie Simmonds says Nikita Kuzmin has ‘changed people’s lives’ with his choreography for her disability

Ellie Simmonds said that partner Nikita Kuzmin has “changed people’s lives” with his choreography for her disability on Strictly Come Dancing.

The Paralympian was the sixth contestant to be eliminated from Strictly on Sunday (6 November), after competing against Molly Rainford in what head judge Shirley Ballas called “one of the best dance-offs I think I’ve ever seen”.

Appearing on Strictly’s sister show It Takes Two on Monday (7 November), Simmonds compared leaving the competition to “heartbreak”.

“I found yesterday and today a bit like going through a heartbreak,” she told host Rylan Clark. “Strictly is everything and it’s been the most incredible time. We’ve been doing it seven weeks now and now it’s all over all of a sudden.

“It’s so sad... I feel like I’m heartbroken. Because what am I going to do now I’m not going to be with [Nikita] every single day?”

Continuing to praise Kuzmin, Simmonds said: “He’s literally the best. What he’s done with my choreography, you realise everyone can dance. He’s adapted it to me and it shows that choreographers out there can do anything, with dwarfism or any different disability. He has changed people’s lives.”

An emotional Kuzmin told his partner: “It’s honestly a little bit difficult to talk right now but I’m just really grateful to have had this experience, to have had every single second with you. Every moment, even our struggles.

“You’ve made me so much better not only as a choreographer but you’ve taught me so much as a person and taught me so much about life… It’s honestly been one of the best times in my life and I will be forever grateful for it and I really mean that.”

Kuzmin and Simmonds dancing on ‘Strictly’ (BBC One)
Kuzmin and Simmonds dancing on ‘Strictly’ (BBC One)

During the results show, Simmonds said that her experience in the competition had been “incredible” and “life-changing”.

“I want to thank Nikita ever so much,” she said. “I’m going to miss him – he’s changed my life and confidence. We’ve had the most amazing days. We’ve had not just dancing days, but days we’ve just spoken for hours.

“The confidence you’ve given me – I seem confident but you know what I’m like, I worry about everything so so much and we’ve literally represented everything. We went out there and danced our life out every single night and I loved it so much.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 12 November at 6.55pm on BBC One.