Is Oti Mabuse leaving Strictly Come Dancing? What did Dancing on Ice judge say in emotional Instagram post

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Oti Mabuse will not appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing

After seven years as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, Oti Mabuse has revealed that she will be leaving the BBC programme.

Mabuse, who has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing since 2015, addressed speculation about her Strictly future via an emotional Instagram post.

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“Never easy to say goodbye,” wrote Mabuse. “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.”

“I can’t put in to words how difficult this decision has been,” she continued, “but I have decided not to return for the next series.”

“I will always Keeeep Dancing! and I will never forget my amazing Strictly experience!”

Who is Oti Mabuse?

Oti Mabuse, 31, is a professional dancer. She previously studied civil engineering at university, before beginning her career as a professional ballroom dancer; Mabuse has appeared as a professional and a judge on German series Let’s Dance, as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing, and a judge on The Masked Dancer and Dancing on Ice.

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One particular claim to fame is that Mabuse is the only professional dancer to win Strictly in two consecutive years, having won with soap star Kelvin Fletcher in 2019 and comedian Bill Bailey in 2020.

Mabuse highlighted the wins as particularly emotional moments in her instagram post, writing ““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.”

Why is she leaving Strictly Come Dancing?

It’s been speculated for some time that Mabuse would likely leave Strictly Come Dancing this year. Viewers noted her recent appearance on rival channel ITV’s dance programme Dancing on Ice, where Mabuse is a judge.

Though Mabuse has not offered a particular reason for her exit, it comes at a point when she’s been with the series for almost a decade, has won twice, and is being offered new opportunities outside the show.

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What have fellow professional dancers said?

Motsi Mabuse, her elder sister and a member of the Strictly judging panel, commented: “It’s time to fly baby girl! I am so proud of you fearless, courageous and so looking forward to seeing your dreams come true.”

Congratulations were also offered by fellow Strictly pros including Dianne Buswell, Luba Mushtuk and Graziano Di Prima, as well as former contestants such as Dr Ranj Singh.

Newsreader Dan Walker commented “Oti you are an absolute star. It was a pleasure to watch you on Strictly as a viewer and a privilege to get to know you last season too.”

Sarah James, executive producer of Strictly Come Dancing, said “Oti has been a truly wonderful part of Strictly for the past seven years.”

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“Her energy, creativity and talent have contributed to so many of the show’s most memorable moments and she will be hugely missed, not only by viewers, but the entire team.”

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