Giovanni Pernice has vowed to stay on Strictly Come Dancing amid backlash from ex dance partners who held a ‘summit’ to discuss his behaviour.

Pro Dance News – Edition 07-04-24

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Strictly dancer Giovanni Pernice defends himself over controversy.

 Strictly dancer Giovanni Pernice defends himself over controversy.

Giovanni Pernice has vowed to stay on Strictly Come Dancing amid backlash from ex dance partners who held a ‘summit’ to discuss his behaviour. The Italian dance pro has been embroiled in crisis as a trio of celebrity women have reportedly ‘shed tears’ and discussed the possibility of ‘formally’ complaining to the BBC about his interactions with them.
However, the 33-year-old dancer has remained defiant, telling the Radio Times last week that he’s not quitting the BBC show.

When asked, alongside Strictly judge Anton Du Beke, if they would quit the ballroom series, he said: ‘Why would we do that? We love our jobs. It’s one of the best shows on television and we get to do our own shows, too.’

Pernice had been partnered with Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington, 52, last year before she sensationally quit the series five weeks later for ‘personal reasons’. She later claimed that she had been ‘suffering from PTSD’ after her time on the show and made a complaint to the BBC , which she has since withdrawn.

She recently held an ‘emotional summit’ with Pernice’s former partners Ranvir Singh and Laura Whitmore where they ‘compared notes’ about their time being paired up with him.
Abbington was also considering instructing an experienced lawyer to help her prepare a legal letter to the BBC to aid her obtaining the rehearsal footage, the paper claimed.

‘There is every possibility all three could take it further and formally complain to the BBC, but for now they’re comforting each other,’ a source told the publication.
‘Only a handful of people will understand what it’s like to be trained by Giovanni and in the industry he is regarded as a “perfectionist”.


Taylor Swift joins world’s richest on billionaire list.

Taylor Swift joins world's richest on billionaire list

Taylor Swift has joined Elon Musk as ranking among the world’s wealthiest people, according to a new rich list.
The American pop star entered the Forbes World’s Billionaires List for the first time with $1.1bn (£877m)

Singer-songwriter Swift entered the rich list after achieving megastar status. She stole the show at this year’s Grammy Awards, becoming the first performer to win the prize for album of the year four times.
Her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was also the best-selling vinyl LP of last year.

Swift’s success is not just confined to the world of music. Her mere presence at American football games to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce has been credited with raising NFL viewing figures.


ITV show ‘axed’ after failing to compete with BBC Strictly Come Dancing.

ITV show'axed' after failing to compete with BBC Strictly Come Dancing.

ITV bosses have reportedly made the decision to axed The Masked Dancer as it failed to compete with BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and will now only continue with The Masked Singer.

After just two series, despite a “reset” the show, which inspired The Masked Singer, will no longer be aired after first launching in 2021. However, The Masked Singer, which has panelists including Davina McCaall, Mo Gilligan, Jonathan Ross and Rita Ora, will continue, as it has proved a complete success.


Stranger Things: The First Shadow extends West End run.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow extends West End run.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow at the Phoenix Theatre has extended its run through to the end of the year.

Unlike the ’80s-inspired TV series, the stage prequel is set in 1959 with characters including a young Jim Hopper, Joyce Maldonado, Bob Newby and Henry Creel (played respectively by Harbour, Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Jamie Campbell Bower on screen).

Featuring an original story by the Duffer Brothers, Jack Thorne and Kate Trefry, Stranger Things: The First Shadow is penned by Trefry and directed by Stephen Daldry, with co-direction by Justin Martin. It has received rave reviews across the board, including from WhatsOnStage, being described as a “major visual spectacle”

The West End cast includes Shane Attwooll as Chief Hopper, Kemi Awoderu as Sue Anderson, Chase Brown as Lonnie Byers, Christopher Buckley as Bob Newby, Ammar Duffus as Charles Sinclair, Gilles Geary as Ted Wheeler, Florence Guy as Karen Childress, Max Harwood as Alan Munson, Michael Jibson as Victor Creel, Oscar Lloyd as James Hopper Jr, Louis McCartney as Henry Creel, Isabella Pappas as Joyce Maldonado, Matthew Pidgeon as Principal Newby, Calum Ross as Walter Henderson, Maisie Norma Seaton as Claudia Yount, Patrick Vaill as Dr Brenner, Ella Karuna Williams as Patty Newby and Alex Young as Virginia Creel.

McCartney was nominated for his professional debut turn as Creel at the WhatsOnStage Awards, with the production being shortlisted in a total of eight categories. It ultimately won Best New Play, while the show was recently nominated for five Olivier Awards.

Completing the company are Anika Boyle, Lily Crawford, Faith Delaney and Imogen Turner (alternating the role of Alice Creel); with Tricia Adele-Turner, Lauren Arney, Samuel Baxter, Reya-Nyomi Brown, Patricia Castro, Lydia Fraser, Isaac Gryn, Mark Hammersley, Benjamin Lafayette, Tom Peters, Kingdom Sibanda, Tiana Simone, Danny Sykes and Meesha Turner.

The production features scenic design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Jon Clark, sound design by Paul Arditti, illusions design and visual effects by Jamie Harrison and Chris Fisher, video design and visual effects by 59 Productions, original music and arrangements by D J Walde, choreography by Coral Messam, movement direction by Lynne Page, and wigs, hair and make-up design by Campbell Young Associates. The technical director is Gary Beestone for Gary Beestone Associates, props supervision is by Mary Halliday, dialect coaching by William Conacher, fight direction by Kev McCurdy, casting by Jessica Ronane Casting CDG with additional casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG, and international casting consultancy by Jim Carnahan.

Tickets for Stranger Things: The First Shadow are on sale, with booking dates through to 15 December.



SuperYou musical to play Leicester Curve.

SuperYou musical to play Leicester Curve

The Curve theatre in Leicester has announced a new season of shows, including new musical SuperYou. Lourds Lane’s much talked-about show will be presented in Leicester from 22 October to 9 November 2024. The show has a book, music and lyrics by Lourds Lane.

SuperYou had been set to open off-Broadway in 2020 but Covid struck.

Instead, the show had its world premiere in Milwaukee at the Skylight Music Theatre in 2023, and a sold-out concert performance took place at the Lyric Theatre in London in November 2023, starring Lucie Jones (Wicked/Waitress/Les Miserables/X-Factor) as Katie, the show’s writer, composer Lourds Lane as Rise, Luke Brady (The Prince of Egypt) as Jay, Jenny O’Leary (Heathers) as Ima-Mazing, Sharon Ballard (Mother Goose) as Blast, Joni Ayton-Kent (Carousel) as Seven, Aaliyah Monk (School of Rock West End) as Young Katie, Jonty Peach (Romeo) as Matty, Maddy Brennan (My Fair Lady, Cabaret, Oklahoma!) as Mom, and Will Bozier (Wicked, Moulin Rouge!) as Mi-Roar.

SuperYou is about the transformative journey of a comic book artist who discovers self-love and her own voice as her superheroine creations spring to life. The musical’s score incorporates a wide range of musical styles, including rock, pop, hip hop, swing, blues, gospel, country, and soulful power ballads.

It’s unclear if the Curve is the first date of a tour for SuperYou or a stand-alone production. The show’s UK website still references a West End run in 2024.

Casting and creatives for SuperYou are yet to be announced.

Other shows announced for the Curve’s season include four Made at Curve original production: a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (13 – 15 June 2024), adapted and directed by Cara Nolan; new community production Fantastic Foxes (26 July – 3 August 2024), inspired by the story of Leicester City Football Club, written by Rob Ward; a new production of Katori Hall’s multi-award winning play The Mountaintop (21 September – 5 October 2024), directed by Nathan Powell; and Christmas show Pirates Love Underpants (2 December 2024 – 5 January 2025), a brand new musical based on Claire Freedman and Ben Cort’s picture book adapted by Brad Fitt, also directed by Cara Nolan.


Chancellor makes Theatre Tax Relief permanent in Budget.

Theatre Tax Relief

Jeremy Hunt has announced a permanent rate for Theatre Tax Relief, after industry bosses warned a reduction to the scheme would prove a huge blow to the sector.
The chancellor has announced a rate of 45% for touring productions and 40% for non-touring shows, in what was likely the final Budget before the general election.

Hunt’s commitment does not match the exact level of what TTR had grown to – 50% for touring and 45% for non-touring productions – but will be considered a boost for the sector. The rate had been planned to taper from April 2025 (to 35% and 30% respectively) with a return to the pre-pandemic rate (25%/20%) in 2026.

Fears the rate would return to pre-pandemic levels of between 20-25% had prompted a 20% reduction in the productions planned for the next financial year, and a 17% drop in the number of playing weeks, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre had found.

tax relief

Surveyed SOLT and UK Theatre members had said the elevated rate, which was introduced in 2021 as a lockdown-era measure, had in the last financial year saved them a total value of £85,686,881 in relief claimed.

Hunt said: “In recognition of the creative and cultural sectors, Theatre Tax Relief has been made permanent. This is a wonderful lifeline for theatres, orchestras and performing arts organisations across the country.”

Producer Kenny Wax had previously warned that a “loss of the higher rate of tax would be a massive blow”.

Hunt also pledged £26 million to the National Theatre for a “major upgrade” to its stages, as he called his plans to continue higher rates for TTR “a lifeline for performing arts across the country”.

Meanwhile, Theatr Clwyd in north Wales said it was “grateful” to receive £1.6 million towards its major building redevelopment, which is currently earmarked to cost a total of more than £45 million. It vowed to put the funding to good use, by creating a “green, sustainable, world-class home for our communities, theatre-makers and future generations”.

Hunt called his plans a “Budget for long-term growth”, despite the country facing “the most challenging economic headwinds in modern history”.

In his speech, Hunt said the UK had become Europe’s largest film and TV production area, with studio space doubling in the last three years. He pledged to provide 40% relief on growth business rates to studios in the UK.

He committed £15 million to new funding for cultural projects through the West Midlands Combined Authority.

In a statement published the day prior to the budget, chief executive of advocacy group Creative UK Caroline Norbury said that in 2022 the gross value added of the creative industries had grown by more than 15% to £125 billion. “The Chancellor himself calls us a growth engine. Despite all this, we are undercapitalised. And that needs to change,” she added.

But lobbying conducted by the sector has been successful, with SOLT and UK Theatre saying they were “delighted with the chancellor’s announcement of a new permanent rate of Theatre Tax Relief. This is fantastic news for the theatre sector”.

Other changes announced in the Budget included a predicted 2p cut to National Insurance – a standout move estimated to cost approximately £10 billion – and yet another extended freeze on fuel duty.

However, despite campaigning backed by arts figures like Andrew Lloyd Webber and venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe, the chancellor did not reinstate tax-free shopping for tourists – something he had suggested he may “look again” at in his Autumn Statement.
The decision to leave tourist tax unchanged leaves Britain the only country in Europe to tax tourists for shopping; a situation which some argue lessens tourist spending in other areas, such as hospitality, transport, live entertainment, and the arts.


General News & Sighting

  • UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has advised slashing funding for performing and creative arts courses at University. She instead outlined plans to increase funds for “strategically important” subjects. (The Stage)
  • “International Draft Works”, the Royal Ballet’s programme celebrating fledgling choreographic talent, returns to the Royal Opera House from the 10th to the 13th of April.
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe has announced 1647 shows this year, suggesting the event will be the biggest ever.
  • Bird College Principle Luis De Abreu and Chief Executive Shirley Coen are to retire.
  • “Breakin’ Convention” returns to Sadler’s Wells on the 4th & 5th of May with some of the world’s best hip-hop acts.
  • Beatrice Parma has been promoted to Principle dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
  • “Burn The Floor” announced the cast for its tour of Australia. It will star Lily Cornish, Robbie Kmetoni and Jemma Armstrong.
  • “Oklahoma” will return to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the 19th and 20th of August starring Zizi Strallen and Phil Dunster. The concert is being directed and choreographed by Bill Deamer.
  • Initial casting has been confirmed for the upcoming London return of “Starlight Express”. The Dance Captain is Kelly Downing and the show has choreography by Ashley Nottingham. It opens on the 8th of June at the Troubadour Wembley Park theatre.
  • Casting has been set for “Babies”, with Ashley Goh, Bradley Riches and Grace Towning in the lead roles. The show will premiere at The Other Palace on the 31st of May. It has choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento.
  • The Dolly Parton musical “Here You Come Again” announces lead casting and more dates. The show will star Steven Webb and open on the 11th of May in Leeds.
  • “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” has announced its cast with Kirsty Findlay in the titular role. The musical will run at the Pitlochry Festival theatre from the 7th of June until the 28th of September. The choreography is by Sundeep Saini.
  • The full cast has been announced for “Hello Dolly”. The show will play at the London Palladium and has choreography by Bill Deamer.
  • Casting has been confirmed for the revival of “Rent” playing at the Peterborough New Theatre from the 20th of June. The choreography is by Lucie Pankhurst.
  • The “Fangirls” musical has announced the lead casting for its UK premiere. It will star Jasmine Elcock, Miracle Chance and Mary Malone. The choreography is by Ebony Williams and Alexzandra Sarmiento. The show will open on the 13th of July at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith.
  • Casting has been revealed for “Mean Girls”. It will star Charlie Burn, Georgina Castle, Elena Gyasi, Grace Mouat, Elena Skye and Tom Xander. The show will open on the 5th of June at the Savoy theatre in London.
  • Casting has been announced for the revival of “Footloose”. The show will open at the Pitlochry Festival theatre on the 31st of May. The choreography is by Kally Lloyd-Jones.
  • According to, the “Black Swan” musical has begun casting for a workshop that will take place in New York in July. The show will be directed and choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.

Future Dance Events News

  • The current touring production of “The Wizard of Oz” will return to the West End on the 15th of August at the Gillian Lynne theatre. The cast will be led by Aston Merrygold.
  • The musical “Lizzie” will return to the Hope Mill theatre in Manchester from the 17th of October until the 11th of November. It is directed and choreographed by William Whelton with associate choreography by Yandass Ndlovu.
  • “Mary Poppins” announced a new UK tour. It will star Stefanie Jones and Jack Chambers and have choreography by Sir Matt Bourne and Stephen Mear. The show will open on the 4th of November at the Bristol Hippodrome.
  • “Magic at the Musicals” will return to the Royal Albert Hall on the 22nd of September. Participating in the event so far are: “Hadestown”, “Mamma Mia”, “Six” & “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical”.
  • “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” is set to return for a new tour starring Donny Osmond. It will open at the Edinburgh Playhouse on the 3rd of December. The choreography is by JoAnn M Hunter.
  • “Heathers” will return for a new UK tour opening in Windsor on the 24th of July. The choreographers will be Gary Lloyd and Christopher Parkinson.
  • A new musical featuring the work of Steps will open at the Alexandra theatre in Birmingham from the 9th until the 24th of November. The choreography is by Matt Cole.
  • A stage musical based on Prince’s film and album “Purple Rain” is in the works with producer Orin Wolf.
  • “Kiss Me, Kate” will run at the Barbican theatre in London from the 4th of June until the 14th of September. It will star Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie J Block and be choreographed by Anthony Van Laast.
  • Luba and Vito from Strictly headline a Charity Dance Show at Dudley Town Hall on the 9th of April at 7.30 pm. You can get tickets at:
  • 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.
  • “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.
  • 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.
  • “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.
  • “Starlight Express” is to return to London in the Summer of 2024. It will be choreographed by Ashley Nottingham.
  • “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.
  • 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

  • Vanessa Maria Mirza is looking for a male dancer to research a new work in London. The deadline for applications is the 14th of April. For more information:
  • The English National Ballet is looking for a Dance Repetiteur in London. The deadline is the 10th of April. There is an online application on the website.
  • Cabaret Rouge is looking for dancers this Summer in St Tropez. Contact:
  • Sir Matt Bourne is auditioning dancers for his iconic “Swan Lake” on the 4th & 5th of May. You can get further details on the New Adventures website.
  • Candoco Dance Company has auditions on the 18th & 19th of April. The deadline to apply is the 4th of March. Contact:
  • ZooNation is looking for dancers for the period of October until December. Visit the website for details.
  • Locked Creative is looking for a male gymnast / dancer for a feature movie filming in London. For more information, go to:
  • Auditions for the Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2024 will be held at Pineapple Studios in London on the 17th & 18th of June.

Dance Classes

  • Christina Andrea has her X Icon Intensive on the 15th & 16th of April at the Manor studios in London. Dm Christina for the booking link.
  • Sophie Allnatt, dancer with the Royal Ballet, is doing a Ballet Workshop on the 5th of May at Thorpe Hall School in Essex. Contact Sophie for more details on:
  • Amy Ireland is doing a Tap class for Intermediates / Advanced level on the 24th of March at 2.00 pm at the Manor studio in London.
  • Tracey Illife is doing a Parisian Showgirl Technique class on the 18th of April at the Pineapple studios from 11.30 am – 1.00 pm.
  • Mica Bradbury, Soloist with the Royal Ballet, will be teaching an audition style ballet class alongside a hair and make-up class by Royal Opera House artist Jane Gage. The event will take place at the Royal Opera House on the 14th of April. For more information contact Mica at:
  • Amy Ireland has weekly classes on Fridays at 10.00 am at the Pineapple Dance Studios in London.
  • Gabriella Marchant is teaching a Musical Theatre workshop on the 10th of April from 12.00 am – 2.00 pm at the i Star Academy. You can book on the website: iSTAR Academy
  • The annual TGS Summer Intensive takes place this year on the 22nd – 26th of July from 10.00 am – 3.00 pm daily. The dance teachers are: Jacob McIntosh, Leighton Jay Halliday, Charlie Bruce & Jordi Guitart. Email: to book your place.
  • Nafisah Baba is teaching a Contemporary class at Pineapple studios on Mondays from 8.15 – 9.45 pm.
  • Keith and Judy Clifton have a new beginners class on Thursdays at the Grimsby Town Hall from 7.30 – 8.30 pm. Contact:
  • Ryan Jenkins has partnered up with Mandy Allen to produce the iD – Company Summer School from the 12th until the 16th of August. For more information contact:
  • Lizzie McConachie has a commercial class on Mondays at Pineapple Studios from 7.30 – 8.30 pm.
  • Aimee Casey has an Adult Ballet class at Flame Studios in Cardiff on Fridays from 6.30 – 7.30 pm.
  • Lucy Jane Adcock has 2 weekly classes at the Base dance studios in London on Sundays at 11.30 am and on Wednesdays at 10.00 am.
  • Christina Andrea has a Commercial Edge class at Base Studios on Thursdays from 2.30 – 4.00 pm.
  • Beth Ackroyd is doing an Adult Ballet class at the Fresh Ground in Battersea on Thursdays from 11.00 am – 12.00 pm. You can contact Beth on:
  • Veronika 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.
  • Dominique Marinho is teaching a Beginners Heels class on Tuesdays at Pineapple Studios from 3.45 – 4.45 pm.

Film & TV

  • We spotted Keisha Atwell in the new Boot’s “Spring Mission” adverts.
  • We spotted Naomi Weijand, Oluwatosin, Will West & Faye Stoeser in the new Verizon advert.
  • We spotted Abi Bulman & Kirstie Shears performing at the O2 Arena with Hukum.
  • We spotted Chichi Ogbu in the latest advert for Uberliss.

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