Strictly, It Takes 12 – Professionally Trained Dancers

This week comes with some bloggers thoughts on professionally trained celebrity dancers. I love the variance of thoughts and opinions that this post has put together. It has certainly made me think about my own opinion on them. 

Well hello, welcome to the first episode in my MAMMOTH Strictly series. I have some big plans, which, might be terribly ambitious BUT I am hoping that if I am able to pull it off, it will be SO worth it. 

Amber’s Thoughts

This one has always confused me a whole lot. On the one hand is it unfair to have professional dancers in the mix with people who have no dance experience at all? But then again, was Ed Balls ever going to win it anyway?
From experience I do believe that the dancing you see on strictly and the dance styles that some of the more experienced contestants have are a completely different ball(room) game. But it inevitabley gives them an advantage from the start. 

In my honest opinion the fact is that the people they get are celebrities. The majority of which will have been seen on TV, in music or some sort of art. In order to do this most people would have been through some sort of dance training at some point. It’s inevitable. While it’s a bit much to have an actual dancer on there, the fact of the matter is that those who have been in boy bands, pop groups or even on the bill are more likely to do well than a politician, cricketer or newsnight presenter.

Need more evidence? Jay McGuiness was in the wanted, Louis Smith was a gymnast, Harry Judd was in McFly and Kara Tointon is an actress. Watch the music video to ‘the boy does nothing’ and try to tell me Alesha Dixon has had no dance training along the way.

Plus there is a question of entertainment. Would you really watch Strictly if it started with 15 Ed Balls? I think we should be nice to our dancers on strictly. Remember they have the disadvantage that nobody is rooting for them. And yes, Ashley Roberts is too good for strictly. That’s too far. Strictly needs to find the line between people who can dance and dancers and not cross it. 


Brooke’s Thoughts

Now, let’s just say from a young age I professionally competed in ballroom and latin. I have very strong opinions about trained dancers competing on Strictly.

Yes, the type of dance they are trained in is different to ballroom and latin. But, they have the basic rhythm, ability to count beats, remember dances. The list is endless. For me professionally trained dancers competing is like me (if I was famous) competing. I have a history of ballroom and latin dancing but haven’t done it for several years so surely thats the same as professionally trained dancers. I’m clearly at an advantage, even though I haven’t danced for years I still know the basics. I mean I’m not going to get into a full rant because I so could!


Kate’s Thoughts

I really don’t see how it is fair for someone with a professional dancing background to compete. Yes their forte may be different to ballroom but they will know the basics which gives them the upper hand against the other celebs. The point of strictly is to teach people with no experience the art of ballroom and that’s what I as a viewer like to see! Their journey and how much they progress with their training. Someone coming in and being good straight away don’t normally have much room to impress further!


Imogen’s Thoughts

I’ve thought back and forth on this topic for a while now but ultimately I came back to the same train of thought. I watch other reality shows occasionally, like ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and when the press leaks that the individual who got the golden buzzer has previously had professional singing coaching, I feel almost tricked?

You see these people come across as ordinary people when actually they have 5,6,7 years of proper coaching. When there is someone who didn’t get through who is untrained, something the show calls for… 

Now, I understand the clear difference between shows like BGT and Strictly Come Dancing, SCD gets it’s appeal from the Celebrity status. However, when I hear or read that they have had professional dance training I instantaneously feel the same. How is it fair when in a supposed group of equals, a couple of individuals have had professional dance coaching and the others are well, beginners. 

One of the main aspects of the show is seeing people who can easily be compared to Bambi on ice when they first start out, grow throughout the series into amazing dancers. I feel cheated and like they don’t belong when their first lessons are not actually their first lessons at all? 

In my opinion, celebrities with previous professional training should not be invited on a show like SCD. They are just that, professional trained. It’s like someone taking a beginner art class when actually they’re a best selling painter, it would be frowned upon then so how is that celebrity status allows you to get away with it? I don’t mean it harshly, but whenever someone who has had previous experience goes out, I am glad. The competition isn’t fair and they should all start off, in my opinion, like Bambi. 


Stacey’s Thoughts

I personally don’t mind people who have dance training taking part in Strictly, assuming of course that it isn’t ballroom dancing they trained in.  Although they may have some advantages when it comes to rhythm, body control, learning choreo etc, it can also have it’s downsides. 

Darcey herself often says how some dance training i.e. ballet, can actually hinder progress in ballroom dancing as it is too rigid.  So, just because someone is good at tap or street dancing, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be good at the foxtrot.

Actors will be better at the characterisation of each dance, sporting celebs will have good stamina and general fitness, others might appeal to the audience because they are loveable or daft (see John Sargent), so in their own way I think everyone comes in with something in their favour.

Finally, I think previous seasons have shown that the best dancers won’t necessarily be the audience favourites.  If they don’t have a great connection with the audience or they’re lacking in personality then they may find themselves in the bottom 2, even if they have fabulous footwork.


Sian’s Thoughts

This is a topic that I am definitely in two minds about. I love to see complete amateurs learn a new skills and succeed at it but then again, most celebrities have some sort of performance background.

Let’s take last season for example: one was a former professional dancer (Debbie), 4 had musical theatre backgrounds (Brian, Alexandra, Joe with Aston going to performing arts school), 2 have music backgrounds (Mollie and Rev Richard), 4 have acting experience (Chizzy, Susan, Davood and Gemma) and 1 is a sportsman so is already physically fit (Jonnie). There was only really Charlotte, Simon and Ruth with no performance background but they are used to being on TV! Last season, there was more outrage about Alexandra having been in a few musicals than there was about Debbie being a former professional ballerina! 

As someone who has a background in ballet, tap and musical theatre, it’s definitely not something you forget. Yes, your technique may not be as good but you don’t forget the steps. However, just because I’ve danced, doesn’t mean I’d pick up ballroom and Latin very well. Yes, I know how to hold myself, I can pick up choreography quickly and I have rhythm which would give me an advantage but so many of the contestants now have some sort of dance/music/performing arts backgrounds. Tonnes of them have been to drama schools where I’m pretty sure you get basic dance training.

With this series, all the drama around Ashley Roberts being a pro dancer has slightly overshadowed the other contestants. She is a trained dancer, not too dissimilar to my own but she is still dancing professionally currently. She will have a huge advantage over those with no performance training but the judges will expect more from her, like they did with Alexandra. This series, there are 5 others who have some sort of performing arts backgrounds, yet none of this has been brought to the public light. Every season has had someone on it who has musical theatre training or has been in a pop band but none of them have any sort of ballroom training.

There are many attributes that contribute to being a good dancer. As well as the actual steps and musicality, you have to be able to act, you have to have stamina, you need to entertain the audience. None of these skills are limited to dance; sportspeople have amazing stamina, actors can already act (well, you’d hope anyway!) and comedians can entertain.

Let’s face it, none of the contestants are complete amateurs. They’re all used to being on TV, most can entertain and most will have rhythm. At the end of the day, Strictly is a massive popularity contest so the best dancer doesn’t necessarily win. As long as Gorka gets a decent partner and is on my screen for a few week, I’m not too fussed!  


Chloe’s Thoughts

When it comes to Strictly they usually include a mixed ability in order to learn to dance. It also makes the show more interesting to watch as with any shows you do need good performers, but at the same time you do need 
celebs that will go on a ‘journey’ to support them especially the underdog.

To me there is a difference between having a mediocre dance experience in the past e.g Faye as the Steps dance routines weren’t any form of latin dancing. The only time Faye will be at an advantage if Strictly do a line dancing week (which I somewhat doubt). Whereas Ashley who has intensive dance routine experience shouldn’t be allowed on the show 
especially as she is a dance choreographer and a judge on Dancing On Ice.

She was actually judging people for how well they can dance, yes some can argue it was on ice but dancing is dancing….right?  The Pussycat 
Dolls are well known for full on dance routines. Just look at the ‘Sway’ music video to see how well Ashley can dance with a partner. To me that puts her at a major advantage and totally not fair on the celebs with 
no dance ability at all!


Hannah’s Thoughts

The hot topic every year with strictly is when the line up is announced and there’s a celeb who has had previous dance experience. Annoying? Yes. Gives them an advantage? Yes. 

Take last year for example, I wasn’t a fan of Debbie McGee, I personally found her a bit irritating, I didn’t understand why everyone was so blown away by her. I mean hats off to her doing some of the stuff she did at her age. But come on, the woman was a professional ballet dancer! And I know that bit of information kind of gets pushed to the side because that’s not what she is known for but to me that doesn’t matter!!! She still had dance training in her bones and muscles so she already had the basics of how to hold and present herself.

It’s the same with singers and actors who take part in the show; 9 times out of 10 they will have had some form of stage school training (once upon a time) and are use to be on a stage in front of people. But the poor buggars who don’t have this experience; sportsmen/women, news readers and chefs for example are already at a disadvantage (in my opinion). They are the true contestants, as they are literally starting from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, As a trained dancer myself, I LOVE to watch the celebs that ace it every week as they do add a healthy balance to the quality of the performances, and I just can’t help but love to watch them. And I am not saying that all those who have previous experience with dancing are going to be top notch as there is a massive different between commercial jazz and a fox trot… believe me! They still have a lot to work on, but they are already one or two steps ahead than those who don’t even know what a ‘ball change’ is. I do think over recent years more and more trained celebs have been creeping in and unfortunately I think it always will be a love/hate topic of the show.


I hope you enjoyed the first post in our Strictly, It Takes Twelve (all will be revealed). Stay tuned for next weeks post WHERE I will be introducing the twelve (get it yet) bloggers who will be helping with me on this series. 

If you have any  strictly post ideas OR would like to feature on the series, let me know. 



  1. brooke
    August 24, 2018 / 7:19 pm

    I’d never even thought about why they included a mixture of dancers? Like said part of this competition is popularity too.

    Brooke x

  2. August 25, 2018 / 7:46 am

    I don’t watch Strictly but I completely agree with the general consensus here and don’t think that they should allow trained dancers to participate! It’s kind of like letting a professional baker on Bake Off! It just means that the playing field isn’t equal! Saying that I think that the public tends to support the underdog so I guess they’re not likely to want the trained dancers to win? Interesting topic!

    Soph – x

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