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Strictly: Giovanni Pernice explains how deaf actor Rose Ayling-Ellis uses ‘muscle memory’ to train

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Giovanni Pernice has explained how he teaches Strictly Come Dancing contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis to dance.

The EastEnders actor is the first deaf competitor to take part in the dancing competition and she wowed the judges with her jive to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” on Saturday (25 September).

Appearing on Strictly’s sister show It Takes Two on Wednesday (29 September), professional dancer Pernice was asked how he had adapted his teaching style to work with Ayling-Ellis.

“We just now focus on the muscle memory more than relate it to the music,” Pernice explained. “Some people connect movement... to [the] lyric of the song, but unfortunately we can’t do that.

“It’s all about muscle memory. So in her brain there is still counting, but still remember what she has to do and the technique. It’s quite [a lot] more difficult.”

Ayling-Ellis added: “It’s quite a lot but I noticed that hearing people rely on the music to help them remember what’s next, but I don’t have that.”

While Ayling-Ellis uses a British Sign Language interpreter in rehearsals and on the show, Pernice has also been learning BSL.

The couple will next dance the salsa to “Cuba” by The Gibson Brothers.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 2 October at 6.45pm on BBC One.

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