Ellie Leach

Pro Dance News 20th December 2023

All the latest news from Dincwear Pro Dancewear.

Strictly Come Dancing final: Ellie and Vito announced as winners of the 2023 Strictly Show.


Strictly Come Dancing 2023 is officially over, with Ellie Leach announced as the winner of the Glitterball Trophy.
Coronation Street star Ellie battled it out in a sparkling finale against EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier and Bad Education’s Layton Williams to impress the viewers at home.

When Leach, 22, was announced as the winner of Strictly, her family jumped around so enthusiastically in the audience that they almost toppled over.

“I actually genuinely cannot believe this,” Leach breathlessly told hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.

She has become the 21st Strictly champion, and the eighth actor to win the trophy. It’s also a big moment for her pro partner Vito Coppola, who only joined the BBC One competition last year.

Ellie has been one of the most consistent dancers this season, topping the leaderboard on multiple occasions. However, this doesn’t mean, she hasn’t also found it “nerve-wracking”, as she revealed in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com.

When asked for her favourite dance so far, Ellie said: “It’s so hard to pick just one because we have just had the most amazing experience. I have enjoyed this so, so much. Saturday night is amazing, I always enjoy it.


All Hail Amy Dowden.

All Hail Amy Dowden

So fantastic to see pro dancer Amy Dowden strutting her stuff in the opening dance of the finale.
Amy, who has appeared on the show since 2017, was forced to sit this season out after she was diagnosed with grade three breast cancer in May.
Amy Dowden, 33, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and underwent a mastectomy in July.

Sharing a carousel of behind-the-scenes snaps from the series, Dowden wrote: “Strictly 2023 thank you! Congratulations to our fabulous winners and finalist but also to every member of the team! It’s truly a dream team! My aim this year was to be able to dance in some way and, after breaking my foot, the plans had to change but as always the incredible team still made it happen.

“Last night I got to be part of the opening number, thank you @jasongilkison. To have that adrenaline rush from performing in front of an audience, to be back with the gang made me feel like Amy again (the first time since my diagnosis). Thank you @bbcstrictly for helping me through these past few months. You’ve helped me more than you will ever know!”


Samantha Barks announces Frozen return date.

Samantha Barks announces Frozen return date

Samantha Barks has set her return date to Frozen in the West End.

Barks, who originated the West End role of Elsa when the Disney spectacle opened at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2021, left the production last summer to commence her maternity leave. Jenna Lee-James took over the role from that point.

Following her maternity leave, Barks will resume her role on 7 February 2024. She will also make a special appearance in Disney Theatrical’s performance on the Royal Variety Performance, which will be broadcast on ITV1 on December 17, 2023, alongside performances from other Disney productions like The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Hercules.

Barks has an impressive theatre background, including performances in Chess, Pretty Woman, The Last Five Years, City of Angels, Chicago, Oliver!, and Les Misérables, among others. In film, she is known for her role as Eponine in Les Misérables and has also been a judge on ITV’s Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream.

Disney’s Frozen, featuring music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, a book by Jennifer Lee, and directed by Michael Grandage, opened at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in August 2021. The production has received accolades, including 7 WhatsOnStage Awards and 4 Olivier Award nominations.

Barks joins the current cast, which includes WhatsOnStage Award nominee Laura Dawkes (Anna), Jammy Kasongo (Kristoff), Craig Gallivan (Olaf), Oliver Ormson (Hans), Richard Frame (Duke of Weselton), and others.


Bobby Brazier’s first major TV offer ‘revealed’ after Strictly success.

Bobby Brazier’s first major TV offer ‘revealed’ after Strictly success

Bobby Brazier is being considered to host a travel show with his dad following the success of his Strictly Come Dancing stint.
The EastEnders star, 20, made it all the way to the final of the long-running dancing series, which was won by Ellie Leach over the weekend.
However as one of the stand-out stars of the programme, offers are already said to be piling up for the young actor.

Bobby, who was paired with professional dancer Dianne Buswell, is being eyed up by the BBC to present a travelogue show with dad Jeff Brazier, 44.

Bobby and Jeff

Bobby, son of the late Big Brother star Jade Goody, is also reported to be swamped with offers to be in West End shows, sign record deals and make ad appearances soon, according to a source.

‘From the start of Strictly, Beeb bosses realised that they had a serious star on their hands – and the fact that he made it to the final was a complete bonus,’ they said.

‘So, they’re incredibly keen to keep him with the Corporation, not least because Bobby is seen as home-grown talent as he got his big TV break on EastEnders.

‘The travelogue show would be a shrewd way to tempt him to stay with the Beeb and is likely to be among the first of many projects they’ll tempt him with – many with a fat pay cheque too,’ they added when speaking to The Sun.

They continued: ‘Involving dad Jeff is also a smart idea as his profile has been raised enormously by appearing in the Strictly audience for the past three months.
‘The bond between Brazier junior and senior is obvious to everyone and bosses are keen to tap into that.’

Beginning his career as a model, Bobby made his catwalk debut at Milan Fashion Week in 2020.

Then, last year, he joined the BBC soap EastEnders as Freddie Slater, a role which saw him pick up the Rising Star National Television Award earlier this year.


General News & Sighting

  • Ellie and Vito won the Grand Final of Strictly 2023, with Ellie becoming the youngest celebrity to win the competition.Their showdance was choreographed by Matt Flint and Stephanie Powell Baxter. The Final was watched by a peak audience of 9.7 million viewers. The Pro/Celebrity dance was choreographed by Jason Gilkison and Ash-Leigh Hunter.
  • Lauren Oakley won this years Strictly Pro Challenge and set a Guinness world record of 15 pendulum steps in 30 seconds.
  • Leanne Benjamin has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet.
  • Stevie Doc and Tobias Turley have been crowned winners of ITV’s series “Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream” and will now go on to play the lead roles of Sophie and Sky in the West End production of “Mamma Mia”.
  • “Blood Brothers” will return for a new tour in 2024 – starting at Woking on the 16th of January.

Future Dance Events News

  • Casting for the UK premiere of “Bhangra Nation” has been announced. It will star Zaynah Ahmed and Gregory Armand. The choreography is by Rujuta Vaidya and Rebecca Howell. The show will run at the Birmingham Rep from the 17th of February to the 16th of March 2024.
  • The European premiere of “Your Lie in April” will take place at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the 8th & 9th of April 2024. It will be directed and choreographed by Nick Winston. The casting director is Harry Blumenau.
  • Nick Winston will be directing the world premiere of the new musical “Wild About You” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the 25th & 26th of March 2024. It will star Eric McCormack.
  • “The Wizard of Oz” has confirmed the full cast for its tour of the UK and Ireland. The choreography is by Shay Barclay. The show will open in Liverpool on the 13th of December 2024.
  • “Standing at the Sky’s Edge” has confirmed the initial casting for its 2024 West End transfer. It has choreography by Lynne Page and will run at the Gillian Lynne theatre from the 8th of February 2024.
  • Nick Winston and Ryan Lee Seager will be directing and choreographing the world premiere of “Burlesque The Musical” – which has Christina Aguilera as an Executive Director. The show will open at the Manchester Opera House on the 13th of June 2024.
  • “Clueless The Musical” will have a developmental run at the Churchill theatre in Bromley from the 12th – 24th of February 2024.
  • “Mean Girls” is coming to the Savoy Theatre in June 2024.
  • A touring musical version of “101 Dalmations” will open in Wimbledon on the 22nd of June 2024.
  • “& Juliet” will embark on a UK tour from the 8th of July 2024. The choreographer is Jennifer Weber.
  • “The Devil Wears Prada” has confirmed its West End run and UK premiere. It will be directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell and be cast by Jill Green. The show will open in Plymouth on the 9th of July 2024.
  • “Bonnie and Clyde The Musical” has announced the initial cast and tour dates for 2024. Katie Tonkinson will star as Bonnie Parker.
  • “Starlight Express” is to return to London in the Summer of 2024. It will be choreographed by Ashley Nottingham.
  • The world premiere of the new British musical “Cable Street” is to open at the Southwark Playhouse on the 16th of February 2024. The choreography is by Melody Sinclair.
  • “Some Like It Hot” is coming to the West End in 2025. It will be directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.
  • Full casting has been revealed for the first UK and Ireland tour of “Aladdin”. Gavin Adams will star with Desmonda Cathabel as Jasmine. Sarah Benbelaid is the Assistant Dance Captain. The show will open in Edinburgh in October.
  • The 2024 Mighty Hoopla Big Weekender has announced its line up led by: Natalie Imbruglia, Cascada and Gabrielle.
  • “Shucked” will open in the West End in 2024. The choreographer is Sarah O’Gleby.
  • “Come From Away” announced a UK and Ireland tour beginning in Leicester on the 1st of March 2024. The production is being cast by Pippa Ailion and Natalie Gallacher. The choreography is by Tara Wilkinson and Kirsty Malpas with Richard Hinds. The Dance Captain is Angeline Bell.
  • “Hadestown” will open at the Lyric Theatre in the West End on the 10th of February 2024. The choreographer is David Neumann.
  • The new musical “Starter for Ten” will premiere in Bristol next year at the Old Vic theatre from the 29th of February until the 30th of March 2024.
  • “The King And I” will return to the West End in early 2024 starring Helen George and Darren Lee.
  • “Sister Act – The Musical” will return to the Dominion theatre in the West End on the 15th of March 2024. It will star Beverley Knight and Alexandra Burke. The choreography is by Alistair David.
  • The lead cast has been unveiled for “We Will Rock You” opening in the West End. It will star Lee Mead and Brenda Edwards.
  • “Jesus Christ Superstar” will tour the UK in 2023/4 opening in Manchester this September. The choreography is by Drew McOnie.

Auditions & Vacancies

  • There is an open call audition for “Fangirls” at the Lyric Theatre in London on the 27th of January. The deadline for submissions is the 8th of January 2024. You can apply at: http://www.lyric.co.uk/fangirls-open-call-auditions/
  • Pearson Casting is auditioning for dancers on the 12th of January 2024 in London – by appointment only. For more details visit: http://www.pearsoncasting.com/nclh
  • Strictly star Graziano di Prima has an open call audition for his new show “Believe: My Life On Stage” on the 6th of January 2024 at the Dance Attic studios. Registration is from 9.30 am.
  • P & O Cruises has an open audition for dancers on the 16th of January at Danceworks in London. Registration is from 9.00 am
  • Bird College is looking for a Musical Theatre tutor with knowledge and experience in directing and choreography in a range of styles to work on Thursdays. See the college website for more details. Closes on the 9th of January 2024.
  • “Spirit of the Dance” is having an open audition in Leeds on the 10th of December. You can register your interest at: dinah@spiritartists.com
  • Auditions are now open for the London Studio Centre Teneisha Bonner Scholarship. See the LSC website for more details.
  • Thrive Dance is auditioning for female dancers on the 7th of February at the Chisenhale Dance Space in London. For more details visit: http://www.thrivedance.co.uk
  • London City Ballet, under the artistic directorship of Christopher Marney, is auditioning for dancers on the 13th of January (with recalls on the 14th) by invitation only. The application deadline is the 24th of December. See the website for further details: http://www.londoncityballet.com
  • Whitechapel Gallery is auditioning for Tango dancers to accompany the exhibition “Dreams Have No Titles”. Visit the website for more details.
  • Ballet Cymru is holding auditions in Newport in January and February 2024. The deadline for applications is January 2024. For more details, contact: dariusjames@welshballet.co.uk

Dance Classes

  • Josie Lee has an intermediate / advanced level choreography class at Base Studios in London on the 17th of December from 1.00 – 2.30 pm.
  • Lowri Beth Evans has a Crimbo Commercial Latin class from 6.30 – 7.30 pm at Pineapple Studios on Friday plus a Sleigh Sexy R’N’B from 7.30 – 8.30 pm.
  • Daniela Fabbricatore is teaching an Advanced Lyrical class at Move It on the 17th of March at 2.15 pm.
  • Josh Pilmore and Philip Birchall have a training day on the 14th of January at the Manor in London from 12.00 – 5.00 pm.
  • Jordi Guitart will be teaching at Move It on the 16th of March at 3.30 pm.
  • Shelley Ann has an Intensive Day on the 6th of January 2024 from 12.00 – 4.30 pm at the Dance Studio in Shrewsbury.
  • Weronika Wiktoria is starting a Street Jazz class every Monday at 5.30 pm at the Base dance studios with Ralitsa Chepisheva.
  • Lil J is offering a sassy Commercial class at the Pineapple Dance Studios on Tuesdays at 4.15 pm. You can book on the Pineapple app.
  • Amy Ireland is offering a Beginners Tap class at Pineapple Dance Studios on Fridays at 10.15 am and a Commercial Tap class on Mondays at 8.30 pm.
  • Dominique Marinho is teaching a Beginners Heels class on Tuesdays at Pineapple Studios from 3.45 – 4.45 pm.
  • Olivia Rose Shouler is doing a beginners choreography class on Wednesday from 7.00 – 8.25 pm at the Base Studios in London.
  • Gemma Hoddy is giving a class at Base Studios on Thursdays from 5.30 – 6.55 pm.
  • Nicolette Whitley is offering a dance class on Thursdays from 6.15 – 7.15 pm at the Inner Space in Nelwyn for £7. Reserve your space on: nicolettewhitley@outlook.com
  • Emma Levene is offering a General Ballet Core and Stretch Contemporary class at Forest Gate Community School on Thursdays from 7.00 – 8.00 pm. Email to book: doubletwistdance@gmail.com
  • Alexandre Novelli is offering a Beginners Commercial for Adults class every Tuesday at her Novelli Studios from 6.00 – 7.00 pm.

Film & TV

  • Sir Matt Bourne’s “Sleeping Beauty” is on BBC2 on Christmas Day at 1.15 pm.
  • We spotted the following pro dancers in “Peter Pan” at the Palladium theatre in London: Charlotte Bazeley, Chrissy Brook, Kelly Downing, Katie Dunsden, Emma Hunter, Thomas Inge, Diante Lodge, Tyler Lotzof & Ella Nonini. The choreography is by Karen Bruce.
  • We spotted the following dancers performing in “An Audience With Kylie Minogue” on ITV: Chanelle George, Sebastian Skov, Mina Neighbour, Yves Cueni & Shaun Niles. The choreography was by Ashley Wallen and the contract was with Kutes.
  • We spotted Claudia Rose Maybury, Mike Fellows, James Berkery & Pfion Vince in the new film “Napolean”.
  • We spotted Tarli Marshall, Natasha Thomas, Zera Aitken & Josh Freeman dancing on the Final of ITV’s “Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream”.
  • We spotted Lois Roberts, Cece Nama, & Sharon June performing with Zara Larsson at Capital’s “Jingle Bell Ball”. The contract was with AMCK.
  • We spotted Kane Horn, Millie Lund & Mira Jebari performing with Alicia Keys at “The Jingle Bell Ball”. The contract was with Kutes.
  • We spotted the following dancers performing with Rita Ora at the “Jingle Bell Ball”: Julia Zytko, Logan Roach, Curtisha Kruythoff, Lashay Harvey, Renae Hughes, Kamira Samuel & Elise Clinton.
  • We spotted Summer Villiers performing with Mette at the 2023 Fashion Awards.
  • We spotted Devon Young and Carmelle Rudder performing with Sister Sledge in Germany.
  • We spotted Angelique Allison performing for Longines in Hong Kong.
  • We spotted Lowri Beth Evans in Channel 4’s “The Last Leg”.
  • We spotted the following dancers performing in this years “Royal Variety Show”: Jess Buckley, Kelly Downing, Emma Hunter, Chrissy Brook & Lauren Stroud.
  • We spotted Jazz Peters, Alexandra Novelli & Charlotte Hawthorne performing with J Balvin in Saudi Arabia.

Pro Dancer News Published by the Dincwear Pro Dancewear Team.

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