Strictly Come Dancing 2022: when are celebrities partnered up - who are the professionals in the lineup?

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There are four new professional dancers taking to the Strictly dance floor this year

Fans of Strictly Come Dancing are excited for the return of the BBC dancing show tonight (Friday 23 September).

The first show of a new series is always where viewers are first introduced to the celebrities, and also their celebrity partners.

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We won’t know until the show is broadcast this evening which celebrity will be partnered with which professional dancer.

What we do know, however, is who the professional dancers ready to take to the dance floor and teach the celebrities are - and new dancers have joined the show.

Here’s everything we know.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 professional dancers. Strictly Come Dancing 2022 professional dancers.
Strictly Come Dancing 2022 professional dancers. | BBC/Guy Levy

Who are the Strictly 2022 professional dancers?

Here are the professional dancers who are competing in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing 2022.

Not every pro dancer will be paired with a celebrity, as some traditionally perform only in the pro routines.

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There are 20 professional dancers and 15 celebrities are taking part in this year’s Strictly which means five of the dancers below will only be taking part in professional routines.

The men

Carlos Gu

Back in July, it was announced that 28-year-old Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu would be joining the Strictly line-up of pro dancers this year.

He said at the time: ‘I’m thrilled to join Strictly and very excited to get started. It’s a new chapter of my life and a new challenge as well. I’m absolutely ready to take on this journey and to shine.”

Gu has experience in ballroom, ballet and contemporary dance.

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Vito Coppola

Vito Coppola, who is a European cup winner, is also new to this year’s Strictly.

The 30-year-old was born in Naples, Italy, and is a professional dancer and TV star.

He began dancing at the age of six and won national championships at the age of 10.

He continued to compete for almost 20 years, until 2021, when he quit to focus on his television career.

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In his home country, Copppla is a well known face on TV, and has appeared as a dancer on the Italian version of The Masked Singer. He also won Ballando con le Stelle, the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing last year.

Gorka Márquez

Gorka has been part of the Strictly family since 2016. The following year he was a finalist alongside his partner, the singer Alexandra Burke.

The 32-year-old made it to the final again in 2020 when he was paired with EastEnders actress Maisie Smith. The pair made it to the final and finished runners-up.

Márquez is engaged to actress Gemma Atkinson. The pair met on Strictly in 2017, when Atkinson was a contestant. Atkinson gave birth to their baby girl, Mia, in July 2019, and they announced their engagement in February 2021.

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Giovanni Pernice

Giovanni Pernice, also aged 32, has been a Strictly pro since 2015. As a Strictly professional dancer, Pernice holds the record for most tens ever awarded from the judges, with a total of 98.

He has also topped the weekly Strictly leaderboard more times than any other pro in the history of the show.

He is the current reigning champion of the show as he lifted the famous glitterball with Rose Ayling-Ellis, the show’s first deaf contestant in 2021.

Pernice is the current Guinness World Record holder for Jive kicks and flicks, performing 55 in 30 seconds in a challenge held in December 2016.

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The next year, in December 2017, he broke the world record for the most Charleston swivel steps in 30 seconds, correctly completing 24.

Both records were achieved on Strictly Come Dancing spin-off show It Takes Two.

Graziano Di Prima

Scilian-born Graziano Di Prima first joined Strictly in 2018. The 28-year-old has only been paired with a celebrity twice in the last four years, and has been a professional support dancer during the other years.

He made his debut in 2018 with DJ Vick Hope, but left the competition in the fifth week.

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In the 2021 competition he was partnered with comedian and Loose Women panellist Judi Love, but the pair were eliminated in week six.

Di Prima, aged 28, is an Italian Latin Champion and has represented Belgium at the World Championships.

He is the current Guinness World Record holder for the most Botafogo steps, performing 90 steps in 30 seconds in a challenge held in December 2019. This record was also achieved on Strictly Come Dancing spin off show It Takes Two

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe is a 35-year-old professional dancer and choreographer.

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Radebe has won the Professional South African Latin championships twice and has been the Amateur Latin South African champion three times.

Radebe was a professional dancer on South Africa’s version of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 and also the US version, Dancing with the Stars, in 2018.

It was in 2018 that the BBC announced that Radebe would join the cast of professional dancers on the British Strictly Come Dancing, although he was not given a partner in his first season.

He made history on the show last year alongside contestant, and chef and Great British Bake Off champion, John Whaite when they became the first male couple in the history of the series.

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Cameron Lombard

Cameron Lombard joined the Strictly professional cast last year, but fans may not know his name as he wasn’t given a professional partner. At 21-years-old, he is one of the youngest professional dancers among the pro troupe.

He is the current reigning South African Latin Champion and has won 18 national titles across Ballroom and Latin in his career.

He said: "Thank you Strictly Come Dancing for this life changing opportunity. Not only is this a dream come true but a challenge I am accepting with both hands.

"I am excited beyond imagination and looking forward to leaving my mark on the dance floor.”

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Neil Jones

Neil Jones, aged 40, was first introduced into the Strictly professionals group in 2016, but he was not given a celebrity partner until the 2019 series when he was paired with ex-footballer and TV presenter Alex Scott He was then paired with actress Nina Wadia in 2021.

He holds 45 dance championship titles, including 8 times British National, 8 times Dutch National, European and 4 times World Latin Champion including World Latin Showdance Champion.

He was previously married to fellow professional dancer, and Strictly pro, Katya Jones.

Kai Widdrington

Kai Widdrington, aged 27, has been a professional dancer on Strictly since last year, for the previous three years he was a dancer on the Irish version of Strictly.

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Widdrington has been dancing since he was young, By the time he was 14, he was the World Junior Latin American champion. In 2010, he was the Junior World Latin American champion and in 2012 he reached the final of the sixth series of ITV talent contest Britain’s Got Talent with his dance partner Natalia Jeved.

He said at the time he joined Strictly Come Dancing that going on the show was his "childhood dream come true".

He said: "Watching Strictly from the very first series as a young boy from Southampton and now 18 years later, to be a professional dancer on the show is the most amazing feeling and the biggest accomplishment of my career.”

It was reported earlier this year that Kai Widdrington was in a relationship with fellow Strictly pro Nadiya Bychkova, but neither have confirmed the romance.

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Nikita Kuzmin

Ukranian-born Nikita Kuzmin was new to the Strictly professional dancer line-up last year, but before that he had been a pro dancer on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing.

He said: “I’ve always been amazed by the magic Strictly Come Dancing brings. No matter what country I have found myself living in, I’ve never missed a chance to watch it."

Kuzmin, aged 24, has also previously worked for Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse’s dance company in Germany.

The women

Lauren Oakley

Lauren Oakley, from Birmingham, is a former Under 21 British National Champion. She joins the Strictly pro dancers team this year.

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She learned to dance when she was just aged two and has won Latin and Ballroom competitions throughout her career. She has also toured across the world and most recently has been touring with fellow Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice and Strictly pro-turned-judge Anton Du Beke.

She said: “I’ve grown up watching Strictly, always hoping that one day I could be part of the best show on television, doing what I love the most. Now that it’s happening, it doesn’t seem real. I can’t wait to start this new sequined adventure and join this incredible family.”

Michelle Tsaikkas

Michelle Tsiakkas, aged 27, is a Latin dance champion, and she is also a new dancer in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition.

She began dancing when she was just six-years-old in Cyprus and went on to become an undefeated champion, winning national titles between 2001 and 2011 before moving to London to study.

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After moving to the UK, Michelle represented England at international championships and then joined the world touring dance show Burn The Floor.

Dianne Buswell

Dianne Buswell is an Australian professional dancer. She was a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars in Australia, but then joined the British series in 2017.

The 33-year-old reached the final of the show in 2018 with her partner Joe Sugg. Shortly after Strictly ended that year, the pair confirmed that they were in a romantic relationship.

Buswell is a former Australian Open champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open finalist

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She has also starred on So You Think You Can Dance Australia and Dancing With The Stars Australia.

Amy Dowden

Amy Dowden, aged 32, also joined the Strictly pro team in 2017. In the 2018 series she achieved the first 10 of the series with her partner Danny-John Jules. In 2019, she made it to the final with celebrity partner Karim Zeroual.

Dowden, who was born in Wales, began dancing at the age of eight. Alongside her partner Ben Jones, she became British National Latin Dance Champion in 2017, and the couple were the first all-British pair to win the championships in over thirty years. Dowden and Jones are married and run a dance school together.

Other successes for Dowden include becoming British Dance Federation Champions, English Closed Champions and Welsh Closed and Open Champions.

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She is also a four-time British National Finalist, and a World Championship semi-finalist, and she remains one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin American professional dancers in the UK.

Karen Hauer

Karen Hauer is Strictly’s longest serving female pro dancer, as she first took to the dance floor ten years ago in 2012.

In her third Strictly series, Karen was paired with radio presenter Mark Wright and they made it to the final.

In 2019, she made it to the semi finals with comedian Chris Ramsey. In 2020, she was partnered with media personality Jamie Laing and again the pair made it all the way to the final.

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The 40-year-old was previously married to former Strictly professional dancer Kevin Clifton. She is a professional Latin dance specialist and World Mambo Champion and has also featured on the American TV series So You Think You Can Dance.

Katya Jones

Katya Jones, who was born Ekaterina Andreevna Sokolova, is a dancer, choreographer and environmentalist. She joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2016.

She won Strictly in 2017 with her dance partner Joe McFadden. In the 2020 series, Jones was paired with the retired professional and Olympic champion boxer Nicola Adams, the first same-sex couple to compete in the UK competition’s history. They withdrew from the competition on 12 November, after Jones tested positive for coronavirus.

The 33-year-old was previously married to fellow Strictly pro Neil Jones.

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Luba Mushtuk

Luba Mushtuk is a 32-year-old professional dancer and choreographer.

She has been part of the Strictly family since 2018, and has been paired with a celebrity partner for two years and has been a support dancer for the other two years.

Nadiya Bychkova

Nadiya Bychkova is a Ukrainian ballroom and Latin American dancer who is a multiple-time Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion and two-time World and European Champion in ‘10’ Dance.

The 33-year-old has been a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing since 2017, and had previously been a professional dancer on the Bosnian version of the show.

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In 2013, Bychkova married Russian dancer Sergey Konovaltsev and they were married for two years. Bychkova was then engaged to Slovenian footballer Matija Skarabot, with whom she has a daughter called Mila. It was reported earlier this year that Bychkova was in a relationship with fellow Strictly pro Kai Widdrington, but neither have confirmed the romance.

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu, aged 31, began dancing at the age of eight. She went on to become a professional dancer and choreographer.

She joined Strictly in 2019, however it wasn’t until 2021 that she got a celebrity partner. She specialises in Latin dance and was a finalist in the U21 World Championships in 2010.

Xu also finished in third place in the 2010-2012 CBDF National Amateur Latin Championships and was runner-up at the 2013 International Singapore Championship

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Xu has been a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance in China and starred in West End and Broadway show Burn The Floor.

Jowita Przystał

Jowita Przystał, aged 28, won BBC show The Greatest Dancer in 2020 after she was mentored by former Strictly pro Oti Mabuse. Her prize was performing on Strictly Come Dancing and £50,000.

She said at the time: “This is my biggest dream come true. No words can describe how I feel right now. I’m still pinching myself to check if this is real but I am beyond excited to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family and I can’t wait to give all of my heart and soul on that dance floor.”

Przystał and her partner Michael Danilczuk have represented Poland in National and International competitions. In 2014 they became Polish Open Latin Champions.

Przystał and Danilczuk have also performed in Broadway musical productions such as Legally Blonde, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Rock of Ages

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