Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

Pro Dance News Edition 19-01-24

All the latest news from Dincwear Pro Dancewear.

BBC Strictly’s Shirley Ballas supports ‘gentleman’ Giovanni Pernice amid Amanda Abbington ‘feud’.

 BBC Strictly's Shirley Ballas supports'gentleman' Giovanni Pernice amid Amanda Abbington'feud'

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has addressed the reported feud between pro dancer Giovanni Pernice and his latest show partner Amanda Abbington.

The Head Judge on the BBC series threw support behind Giovanni, calling him a “gentlemen” and a “splendid teacher” as she was quizzed about an apparent falling out between the pairing. Amid reports actress Amanda was left “broken and saddened” by her time on the show, Shirley had her say on the reports.

Sherlock star Amanda left the BBC dance competition in week five due to “medical reasons” in October 2023. In recent weeks it was reported that she sought professional help due to the “behaviour she was exposed to” while part of the series.

The actress reportedly sought legal advice to obtain backstage footage of their rehearsals after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following her exit from the show. Giovanni recently took to social media to thank fans and loved ones for their support amid a new venture away from the BBC show.

The BBC are supporting Giovanni after the claims, with the allegations deemed “excessive”. The BBC did respond to claims regarding Amanda and the request for footage, remarking that duty of care is taken “incredibly seriously”.

Now, Strictly judge and Giovanni’s co-star Shirley has addressed the matter, and she threw support behind the pro dancer. Speaking on Lorraine on Monday, host Lorraine said: “We had all this stuff about Giovanni and clearly, there were some problems with his partner last year.

“Of course it’s very well documented, there’s been an investigation. It’s fine, but the pros do want to win don’t they, and they want to get the best out of their partner?” Shirley replied: “I have known Giovanni for many, many years and he is an absolutely splendid teacher.

“My only ever experience with him is that of an absolute gentleman. He serves the show well and gives 100 percent, but you know…” Lorraine added: “Sometimes partnerships just don’t work, we see that everywhere, on TV, everywhere.”

Shirley then interjected: “But you know all these shows, Strictly, they’re tough shows. So when you sign up for a show like that you kinda know what you are getting into, it’s been on the screen for 20 odd years, it’s quite difficult to do the show.”

A source recently told The Press Media on the story: “The feeling is he is a tough taskmaster, but hasn’t bullied or abused anyone. The BBC see him as a key face of Strictly and will do all they can to support him.”


Strictly’s Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola signed up for This Morning by ITV.

Strictly's Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola signed up for This Morning job by ITV

Strictly Come Dancing champions Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola have been ‘snapped up’ by ITV for high profile roles on This Morning.

It’s now been close to a month since ex Coronation Street actress Ellie and 2022 finalist Vito won the Glitterball trophy, having gone into December’s Strictly final as the red hot favourites to win. After an unfortunate error with a lift in their Show Dance, Ellie and Vito actually finished bottom of the leaderboard on the night, but with the judges’ scores just a guide in the final, emerged victorious after topping the public vote.

The couple spent Christmas and New Year apart, as Ellie headed back to Manchester to celebrate with family and friends and Vito jetted back to Italy for the festive period but, they will now be spending a lot of time together, as they and many of the Strictly co-stars hit the road for the show’s annual live tour. The dates kick off in Birmingham in just over a week’s time, before wrapping up at London’s famous O2 Arena.

And, aside from that, ITV viewers will also be seeing a lot more of Ellie and Vito as, they announced on Wednesday’s This Morning, that they’d signed up to Be dance teachers to three couples who wanted to learn how to dance. Right at the start of their interview with hosts Craig Doyle and Josie Gibson, Ellie remarked: “I’m apparently, going to be turning into a teacher. We are going to give three couples some dancing lessons.”

She continued: “You know when couples go to an event, a wedding, a birthday and you’re always trying to get one of them up to dance. My mum always does it to my dad. We’re going to show them some moves,” as Vito added: “Everyone can dance.”


The Masked Singer’s Rat leaves panel ‘gobsmacked’ Strictly icon axed.

The Masked Singer's Rat leaves panel'gobsmacked' Strictly icon axed

Rat caused quite a stir as they were voted off The Masked Singer on Saturday night, with none of the panel guessing that they were none other than Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas.

One of the most fun acts in the new series of the ITV show, Rat was back in action in this weekend’s third episode, performing an entertaining rendition of childhood favourite Nellie The Elephant, as regular stars Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross and Mo Gilligan and guest star Olly Murs were very divided on who could be the celeb inside the eye-catching costume. Olly guessed at Kerry Katona, while Davina went for Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer and Jonathan eventually went for another Josie, Doctor Who and Time star Jodie Whittaker.

The Masked Singer's Rat

Strictly head judge Shirley’s name never once came into contention, so when the panel sent Rat packing from The Masked Singer, in favour of Dippy Egg, there were gasps as the mask came off to reveal the dance champion underneath. Every one of them looked in total shock as they saw Shirley standing in front of them, with her quickly out on the spot about how some of the clues linked her to Rat.

She explained that the clue about being in ‘danger’ was about her climbing Kilimanjaro, while the appearance of a tattoo gun in Rat’s second VT was in reference to her having a number of hidden tattoos on her bottom. Just like the panel, plenty of viewers at home were blown away by Rat being Shirley, despite Rat’s very obvious Scouse accent being a clear nod to Shirley’s Merseyside roots.

Talking about managing to evade detection from the panel and what she thought of their guesses, Shirley said: “I thought the guesses from the panel were actually rather spectacular. They compared me to actors and singers, all sorts, and never got any of the clues! I was very surprised about Jonathan. I mean, Jonathan’s a friend of mine.


Shucked musical to be adapted into a film.

Shucked musical to be adapted into a film.

The Broadway hit Shucked will be adapted for the big screen.

Announced on stage during the show’s final performance in New York, the comedy will be made into a film by Mandalay Pictures, who have worked on the likes of Air, The Voices and Enemy at the Gates.

With a book by 2023 Tony Award nominee and Tony Award winner Robert Horn (who will now pen the screenplay), music and lyrics by 2023 Tony Award nominees and Drama Desk Award winners Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, and direction by 2023 Tony Award nominee and three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, the piece opened on Broadway last March. It will be hosted at a Cameron Mackintosh venue in London in the next year or so, according to reports in 2023.

Set in a rural community isolated from the world by a wall of economy-driving corn stalks, Shucked follows what happens when the crop begins to fail, and a young woman leaves behind Cob County to try and find someone who can save her town. The show has received rave reviews in New York, being described by our sibling site as “a shucking good time.”

Choreography is by Sarah O’Gleby, and music supervision, music direction, orchestrations, and arrangements by 2023 Tony Award nominee Jason Howland, the design team for Shucked includes 2023 Tony Award nominee and Tony Award winner Scott Pask (scenic design), 2023 Drama Desk Award nominee Tilly Grimes (costume design), Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman (lighting design), Tony Award winner and 2023 Drama Desk Award nominee John Shivers (sound design), Academy Award-winner and Emmy Award winner Mia Neal (wig design), and Stephen Kopel, C12 Casting (casting director).

Casting, dates and more details about the film are to be revealed.


General News & Sighting

  • Sir Matt Bourne’s “Swan Lake” will return for its 30th Anniversary with a tour in 2024/5. The tour will begin at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth on the 11th of November.
  • The Strictly Live Tour opens today in Birmingham. It will visit Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and London. The Tour features Ellie & Vito, Bobby & Dianne, Layton & Nikita, Annabel & Graziano, Angela Rippon & Kai and Angela Scanlon & Carlos.
  • “MJ The Musical” announced its complete cast. Myles Frost will star as Michael Jackson.The show will open at the Prince Edward theatre on the 6th of March. The choreography is by Christopher Wheeldon and the dance captain is Travis Kerry.
  • The Economist reported that Broadway is struggling with rising costs and smaller audiences. Attendance is down 17% from the pre-pandemic figures and the box office takings are down 27% in 2023 compared with 2019 (adjusted for inflation). It also mentions that the average price of a ticket on Broadway is $160!.
  • The Royal Ballet has announced details about its forthcoming festival of New Choreography, opening in February.
  • The “Burlesque” stage musical announced new dates plus a Glasgow run. It will open at the Glasgow Theatre Royal from the 11th until the 28th of September and then play at the Manchester Opera House from the 3rd of October until the 2nd of November. It is then planning to transfer to the West End. The show is directed and choreographed by Nick Winston.
  • 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: http://www.mpvtickets.com
  • Choreographer Russell Maliphant has described broadcasts of dance productions as a “vital” way to boost access to people who would not normally be able to watch shows in a theatre. (The Stage)
  • Gorka Marquez has announced that he will be one of the judges on the Spanish version of Strictly.
  • Jessica Daley stepped in to save a performance of “Evita” at the Curve theatre in Leicester with just 2 hours rehearsal!
  • West End Live 2024 will take place on the 22nd & 23rd of June at Trafalgar Square in Central London.
  • The “Little Shop of Horrors” revealed the full cast for its UK tour. It will star Laura Jane Matthewson and Oliver Mawdsley. The movement direction is by Sundeep Sani. The show will open at the New Wolsey theatre on the 1st of March.
  • The cast has been confirmed for the “Clueless” musical ahead of its developmental UK run at the Churchill theatre in Bromley from the 12th until the 24th of February. Emma Flynn Bespolka will star as Cher.
  • Ernst Meisner has been appointed Deputy Director of Talent Development at the Dutch National Ballet.

Future Dance Events News

  • 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: http://www.mpvtickets.com
  • 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

  • Grayboy / P&O have auditions for dancers in London on February the 19th until the 22nd. You can email auditions@grayboy.com to receive the brief and application form.
  • Auditions for the Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2024 will be held at Pineapple Studios in London on the 17th & 18th of June.
  • “Tina The Musical” is holding an open audition at Pineapple for the role of Tina Turner on the 22nd of January.
  • The London Cabaret Club is holding an open audition for dancers on the 4th of February at 11.00 am.
  • Rouge in Las Vegas is looking for dancers. Contact: sheer@shows-pro.com
  • P&O Cruises has an open audition for dancers on the 16th of January at Danceworks in London. Registration is from 9.00 am
  • 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
  • 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

  • Strictly star Luba has a dance class on the 21st of January at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in London from 1.00 – 2.00 pm. You can get your ticket on: http://www.bookwhen.com
  • Sophie Ferrero and Christabelle Huddleston have an Intermediate/Advanced workshop on the 10th of February from 3.00 – 7.00 pm at the Manor in London.
  • Bethany Kingsley-Garner has a day of dance workshops with Danscentre on the 28th of January. You can find further details at: http://www.danscentre.com/workshop
  • 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.
  • Dollie Henry has her Sunday Jazz Congregation at the Place in London on the 28th of January from 4.30 – 6.00 pm.
  • Robin Windsor, Luke Miller, Grace Cinque-White and Alan Burkitt are raising funds for the Strictly Foundation with a dance workshop in London on the 25th of February from 11.00 am – 4.00 pm at the Dance Attic. You can book your place at: http://www.thestrictlyfoundation.com
  • Lowri Beth Evans is teaching a Beginners Heels course at the Glow Up Studios in Cardiff for 4 weeks starting on the 9th of January from 7.00 – 8.00 pm.
  • Nafisah Baba has a Choreo and Creation workshop at Danceworks in London on the 21st of January from 1.00 – 4.00 pm.
  • Lukas McFarlane and Julia Spiesser have a Partnering workshop at the Manor in London on the 20th and 21st of January from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm each day.
  • Hannah Cleeve has a new dance intensive for dancers aspiring to work professionally on the 21st – 23rd of February from 11.00 am – 5.00 pm at Flow Dance in Oval. For more information contact: hannahcleeve@outlook.com
  • 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.
  • Graziano di Prima has The Big Salsa Dance to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK on the 16th of February at the AO Arena in Manchester.
  • 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: beth.lauren@live.com
  • Daniela Fabbricatore is teaching an Advanced Lyrical class at Move It on the 17th of March at 2.15 pm.
  • Jordi Guitart will be teaching at Move It on the 16th of March at 3.30 pm.
  • 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.

Film & TV

  • The “Mean Girls” movie has been released in the UK.
  • We spotted Georgia Gannon in the new George Clooney movie “Boys In The Boat”.
  • Rat caused quite a stir as they were voted off The Masked Singer on Saturday night, with none of the panel guessing that they were none other than Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas.
  • Strictly Come Dancing champions Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola have been ‘snapped up’ by ITV for high profile roles on This Morning, they announced on Wednesday’s This Morning, that they’d signed up to Be dance teachers to three couples who wanted to learn how to dance.

Pro Dancer News Published by the Dincwear Pro Dancewear Team.

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