Strictly Come Dancing unveils three new professional dancers" width="976" height="549">
The new Strictly faces (left to right): Johannes Radebe, Luba Mushtuk and Graziano Di Prima
Three new professional dancers have been unveiled to join the line-up of Strictly Come Dancing when it returns to BBC One this autumn.Donning the sequins for the flagship Saturday night show will be Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe and Luba Mushtuk. Di Prima hails from Sicily, Radebe is South African and Mushtuk is Russian.Their arrival comes after the departure of Brendan Cole earlier this year, while Chloe Hewitt has also left.
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While it was reported in April that she was leaving Strictly, the announcement confirms she won't be continuing on the show.
The three arrivals also mean the new series will boast its fullest quota of professional dancers to date, bringing the number to 18.
'Greatest show'
Di Prima, an Italian Latin champion, said his new Strictly job was a "dream come true"."I can't wait to give all of myself on the dancefloor," the 24-year-old, who has been touring with dance company Burn the Floor for the past three years, added.
Strictly favourite Brendan Cole partnered Charlotte Hawkins last year
Echoing his feelings, Latin dance champion Radebe said his new role was "one of the greatest achievements of my dancing career". The 31-year-old, who has been a pro dancer on Strictly Come Dancing South Africa for the past two seasons and reached the final both times, said it was an "honour to be chosen to be a part of an incredible cast".And four-time Italian dance championship winner Mushtuk enthused that she was raring to get started and become part of the "greatest show on Earth".
Luba Mushtuk performing on Strictly last year
She tweeted that it was a "priceless opportunity" she had "been dreaming about". The 28-year-old may be a familiar face to Strictly fans - she has been working on the show as an assistant choreographer since 2016 and took part in group routines, including during movie week last year, when she danced with Giovanni Pernice.The 18-strong dance team will be completed by well-known faces including Kevin Clifton, Karen Clifton, Anton Du Beke, Oti Mabuse and Pasha Kovalev.
Chloe Hewitt had never been given a celebrity partner on the main show
In announcing the new team members, executive producer Louise Rainbow thanked Cole and Hewitt for their contributions to the top-rating show. "A huge thank you goes to Brendan from all of us for 15 amazing series of Strictly," said Rainbow."We wish him all the very best with his future projects. We would also like to thank Chloe and wish her well."Mabuse paid tribute to "superstar" Hewitt on Twitter.
Skip Twitter post by @OtiMabuse
Sending this beauty love @HewittChloe, my leo sister Report
End of Twitter post by @OtiMabuse
Cole, one of Strictly's original dancers, was dropped in January. He said the "editorial decision" had left him "in shock". He had performed on Strictly for 15 series. The only original professional dancer now left is Du Beke. Hewitt, who had never been given a celebrity partner on the main show, joined Strictly in 2016. She took part in group numbers and seasonal Strictly specials.
Joe McFadden is the reigning Strictly champion
Last year's show was won by former Holby City actor Joe McFadden and his partner Katya Jones, who's also returning to the show. The returning pro dancers are: AJ Pritchard, Aljaz Skorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Kevin Clifton, Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, Oti Mabuse and Pasha Kovalev.The celebrity contestants will be announced later this year.
Kevin Clifton has already asked fans who they would like him to dance with - with suggestions including Miranda Hart and Mary Berry.
Skip Twitter post by @keviclifton
Yes!!!!— Kevin Clifton (@keviclifton) May 30, 2018
End of Twitter post by @keviclifton
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