Strictly Come Dancing 2022 professional line-up confirmed as Aljaž Škorjanec quits

The countdown to Strictly Come Dancing is officially on now that the long-running BBC show has confirmed the professional line-up for the next series following some big departures.

TV bosses have unveiled the stars taking part in the upcoming 20th series, including fan favourites Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer.

Other dancers who will be teaching famous faces how to dance once again are Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima and Amy Dowden.

Meanwhile, returning stars Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nancy Xu will be strutting their stuff in front of the judges and viewers at home.

Completing the 2022 line-up is last year’s newcomers Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Jowita Przystal and Kai Widdrington.

Announcing the news, Strictly’s Executive Producer, Sarah James, said: “We could not be more proud of the Strictly professional dancers and we are so happy to have so many returning for 2022.

“The world-class skill and extraordinary care they bring to everything they do, from working with their celebrity partners to choreographing and performing remarkable and unforgettable routines, never ceases to amaze us.”

She added: “They really are the best in the business and we can’t wait to see what they bring to the Strictly ballroom for our twentieth fabulous series.”

This comes after two-time champion Oti Mabuse and fellow pro Aljaž Škorjanec both quit the series, revealing 2021 was the last time we’d see them on the famous floor.

Aljaž, 30, joined the show in 2013, and has partnered the likes of Alison Hammond and Sara Davies, announced that he was bowing out after nine years.

In an emotional Instagram message alongside pictures of his favourite moments on the show, Aljaž said: “On a beautiful sunny day in May 2013 one phone call changed my life forever!

“It went like this… We would like to offer you a position on @bbcstrictly as a professional dancer. 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.

He continued: “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.”

Aljaž went on to thank his fellow pros, the backstage team and the viewers at home for the memories.

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Similarly Oti, 31, said she had found it hard to say goodbye to the show that propelled her to fame.

Announcing her decision to leave after seven years, she said: “Never easy to say goodbye. I have been part of the most amazing TV show, Strictly Come Dancing for the past seven years and it has been an incredible time.

“Lifting the glitter ball twice and having the best journey with all my celebrities, but also meeting and working with the best team, crew, producers, celebs and incredible professional dancers! You are my family and I adore you all forever.”

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