Strictly Come Dancing 2022 professional dancers line-up: Meet the cast

Find out which professionals are returning to the Strictly Come Dancing dancefloor in a bid to add their name to the glitterball trophy.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 11 July 2022 - 9.30pm
BBC Strictly Come Dancing's new professionals Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley, Michelle Tsiakkas and Vito Coppola

The Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers are the glue that holds the BBC One Saturday night hit together.

Bringing awe-inspiring footwork, a phwoar factor and an incredible talent for training up plodding amateurs, they are as important as the judges and celebrities in making Strictly a success.

In 2022 there are a couple of big changes as fan favourites and former Strictly winners Oti Mabuse and Aljaž Škorjanec depart the professional lineup. Their exit means there is room for four new pro dancers - Vito, Carlos, Lauren and Michelle.

As we prepare for an autumn of dazzling dancefloor delights, here is the full list of professional dancers taking part in Strictly 2022 and everything you need to know about them.

Strictly professionals 2022 cast list

Vito Coppola - New for 2022

New Strictly Come Dancing professional Vito Coppola BBC

11-time Italian Latin American Champion Vito Coppola began dancing at the age of 6 and by the age of 10 was winning national championships. His career highlights include being a 3-time World Championship finalist and European Cup Winner.

In 2021 he left the competition world as one of its highest ranking athletes to explore on screen opportunities, most recently competing in and winning Ballando con le Stelle, the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Carlos Gu - New for 2022

New Strictly Come Dancing professional Carlos Gu BBC

Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu is a dancer at the very top of his game. He is a multiple world semi-finalist, placed 3rd at the German Open Championship and became Amateur Latin Rising Star Runner Up at the 2017 UK Open.

With further experience in ballroom, ballet and contemporary dance, Carlos brings a wealth of dance knowledge to the Strictly ballroom.

Lauren Oakley - New for 2022

New Strictly Come Dancing professional Lauren Oakley BBC

Birmingham-born Lauren Oakley started dancing at just 2 years old and began competing soon after. Early successes include becoming Juvenile Champion at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival, winning across both Ballroom and Latin disciplines.

She was also crowned Under 21 British National Champion before exploring a career on stage. She has toured all over the world and most recently has been leading lady to Giovanni Pernice and Anton Du Beke in their national tours.

Michelle Tsiakkas - New for 2022

New Strictly Come Dancing professional Michelle Tsiakkas BBC

Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas first started dancing at the age of 6 in her home country of Cyprus. There she became an undefeated champion, winning national titles consecutively from 2001-2011 before moving to London to study.

Whilst in the UK she continued to compete, representing England at major international championships before joining the world touring dance show Burn The Floor

Kai Widdrington

Kai Widdrington, a new Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer for 2021 BBC

Past celebrity partners: AJ Odudu

By the time he was 14, Kai was the World Junior Latin-American champion. As well as competing, Kai appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 aged 16 and made it to the final.

Kai has been a professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars in Ireland since its first series in 2017. He finished twice as runner-up on the show in 2018 and 2020.

Kai danced all the way to the Strictly final in his first series, but sadly had to pull out due to an injury to his celebrity partner AJ Odudu.

Nikita Kuzmin

Nikita Kuzmin, a new Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer for 2021 BBC

Past celebrity partners: Tilly Ramsay

Nikita was born in Ukraine and lived there until he was nine years old when his family moved to Italy to support his sister’s dancing career.

He started dancing aged four after initially wanting to do karate like his hero Jackie Chan.

During his nine years in Italy, Nikita became six-times Italian Champion in Latin and Ballroom.

In 2020 Nikita was a professional dancer on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Giovanni Pernice

Giovanni Pernice BBC

Past celebrity partners: Georgia May Foote, Laura Whitmore, Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer, Michelle Visage, Ranvir Singh, Rose Ayling-Ellis (winner)

Sicilian dancer Giovanni may be the butt of some good-natured jokes from his co-stars, but there’s nothing to be laughed at when it comes to his Strictly achievements.

He has danced in five series of the show so far and has reached the final three times – with Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee, and most recently Faye Tozer, and just missed out on it in 2020 with Ranvir Singh.

In 2021, he won his first Strictly title with his incredible partnership with Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Gorka Marquez

Gorka Marquez SOPA Images

Past celebrity partners: Tameka Empson, Alexandra Burke, Katie Piper, Maisie Smith, Katie McGlynn

Gorka began dancing at the age of 12 and has represented Spain across the globe in Latin championships.

He has been in the Strictly pros crew since 2016 and reached the final in 2017 with Alexandra Burke – the same year that he started dating another contestant, Gemma Atkinson, who he welcomed baby daughter Mia Louise with in July 2019.

Gorka reached the final with Maisie Smith in 2020, but has yet to win the big prize.

Graziano Di Prima

Graziano di Prima SOPA Images

Past celebrity partners: Vick Hope, Judi Love

In 2018, Graziano was the show’s much-touted new signing who even got his own introductory dance when the series began.

However, despite looking like a promising pair with Vick Hope, they were a shock elimination in the early weeks so we didn’t end up seeing too much of Graziano.

He didn’t get a celebrity partner in 2019 or in 2020, but reached Halloween Week with comedian Judi Love in 2021.

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe BBC

Past celebrity partners: Catherine Tyldesley, Caroline Quentin, John Whaite

Johannes got his first partner in 2019, dazzling viewers with Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley, and left the 2020 contest much earlier than expected in a shock eviction with Caroline Quentin.

Johannes is no stranger to Glitterball glory, having reached the Final of Strictly Come Dancing South Africa twice.

He most recently partnered celebrity baker John Whaite in the show’s first all-male partnership. Together they reached the final, and became the series' runners-up.

Neil Jones

Neil Jones BBC

Past celebrity partners: Alex Scott, Nina Wadia

He’s been a part of the Strictly pros group since 2016 and has partnered celebrities in two Christmas specials, but it was only 2019 when he got first celebrity, footballer Alex Scott.

In 2020 he was back on the subs bench, but returned in 2021 with actress Nina Wadia.

Neil is the four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion and the three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships with his now-estranged wife Katya Jones.

Amy Dowden

Amy Dowden BBC

Past celebrity partners: Brian Conley, Danny John-Jules, Karim Zeroual, JJ Chalmers, Tom Fletcher

Welsh dancer Amy grew up watching Strictly and in 2017 achieved her dream of being cast in the show.

Amy began dancing at the age of eight, is a four-time British National Finalist and went on to become British National Champion, making her one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin dancers in the UK.

In 2019 she danced all the way to the final with CBBC’s Karim Zeroual and most recently she partnered McFly’s Tom Fletcher.

Dianne Buswell

Dianne Buswell BBC

Past celebrity partners: Rev Richard Coles, Joe Sugg, Dev Griffin, Max George, Robert Webb

Australian Open Champion Dianne has toured the world with the dance company Burn the Floor, and was one of the pros on the Australian version of Strictly before she joined the UK show in 2017.

Dianne reached the final with social media star Joe Sugg in 2018 and the pair are now in a relationship. She had to withdraw from the show with 2021 when her partner Robert Webb suffered an injury.

Karen Hauer

Karen Hauer BBC

Past celebrity partners: Nicky Byrne, Dave Myers, Mark Wright, Jeremy Vine, Will Young, Simon Rimmer, Charles Venn, Chris Ramsey, Jamie Laing, Greg Wise

The longest serving pro on Strictly, Karen has been a popular dancer with the viewers and the contestants since she joined in 2012.

In 2020 she made it to the final with Jamie Laing who had returned after dropping out with an injury in 2019.

Venezuelan and New York-raised Karen has titles for United Amateur American Rhythm National Champion and Professional World Mambo Champion, and was a contestant on the US series So You Think You Can Dance.

Katya Jones

Katya Jones BBC

Past celebrity partners: Ed Balls, Joe McFadden (Winner), Seann Walsh, Mike Bushell, Nicola Adams, Adam Peaty

Russian dancer Katya has won a clutch of trophies with her ex-husband and Strictly pro Neil – the World Amateur Latin Championships, the World Professional Latin Showdance Championships, and the British National Professional Championships four times.

She won Strictly with Joe McFadden and is famed for her Gangnam Style routine with Ed Balls, but will be hoping that everyone has now forgotten about 2018’s controversial partnership with comedian Seann Walsh.

Katya became one half of the first-ever same-sex couple in the show alongside Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, although unfortunately they had to bow out early after Katya tested positive for coronavirus during the series.

Nadiya Bychkova

Nadiya Bychkova BBC

Past celebrity partners: Davood Ghadami, Lee Ryan, David James, Dan Walker

Nadiya has multiple titles as the Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion, is a two-time World Champion and a European Champion in ballroom and Latin.

Her Strictly partners have included Davood Ghadami and Lee Ryan, who was a surprise early elimination in the second public vote of the 2018 series.

In 2021 Nadiya partnered BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker, dancing all the way to the quarter final.

Nancy Xu 

Nancy Xu BBC

Past celebrity partners: Rhys Stephenson

Nancy, from China, is a world-class Latin dancer who has competed all over the globe. Her accolades include a bronze at the National Amateur Latin Championships and being named runner-up at the International Singapore Championships.

The 28-year-old was a finalist in China's So You Think You Can Dance, and has featured in the West End and Broadway casts of Strictly-star-studded show Burn the Floor.

In the 2021 series she partnered her first celebrity, CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, and together they reached the semi-final.

Jowita Przystal

Jowita Przystal, a new Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer for 2021 BBC

No past celebrity partners

Joining the show 2021, 26-year-old Jowita started ballroom dancing at the age of 12 and is a Polish Open Latin Champion.

In 2015 she joined the cast of touring dance company Burn The Floor, where she stayed for four years before moving to the UK in 2019.

Under the mentorship of Strictly Champion, Oti Mabuse, she won the BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in 2020, and the prize of performing on Strictly Come Dancing.

Cameron Lombard

Cameron Lombard, a new Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer for 2021 BBC

No past celebrity partners

Reigning South African Latin Champion Cameron Lombard, 20, has won 18 national titles across Ballroom and Latin during his dance career.

He started competing aged six, and within a year he was already winning local and regional competitions.

In 2012 he was a finalist on South Africa’s Got Talent and in 2019 he represented South Africa at the World Championships.

Luba Mushtuk

Luba Mushtuk BBC

Past celebrity partners: James Cracknell, Jason Bell

Luba may only have been cast as one of the pro dancers in 2018, but she has been a part of the Strictly family for years as an assistant choreographer.

Her titles include being the four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship, and winning the Italian Open Latin Show Dance. She’s also worked extensively with Broadway and West End show Burn the Floor.

In 2019 she was paired up with her first celebrity student, hoping to take Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell OBE to dancing victory. But they didn't make it past the first public vote, bowing out in Week Two.

Luba fared slightly better with Jason Bell in 2020 as the second couple to be voted out.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 series 20 is coming later this year to BBC One

All the former Strictly Come Dancing professionals in past series

  • Anton Du Beke – Series 1-18
  • Brendan Cole – Series 1-15
  • Camilla Dallerup – Series 1-6
  • Erin Boag – Series 1-10
  • Hanna Karttunen – Series 1
  • John Byrnes – Series 1
  • Kylie Jones – Series 1
  • Paul Killick – Series 1-2
  • Darren Bennett – Series 2-7
  • Hazel Newberry – Series 2
  • Ian Waite – Series 2-7
  • Lilia Kopylova – Series 2-7
  • Nicole Cutler – Series 2, Series 3-4
  • Andrew Cuerden – Series 3
  • Hanna Haarala – Series 3
  • Izabela Hannah – Series 3
  • Karen Hardy – Series 3-6
  • Matthew Cutler – Series 3-7
  • Flavia Cacace – Series 4-10
  • James Jordan – Series 4-11
  • Ola Jordan – Series 4-13
  • Vincent Simone – Series 4-10
  • Brian Fortuna – Series 6-8
  • Hayley Holt – Series 6
  • Kristina Rihanoff – Series 6-13
  • Aliona Vilani – Series 7-9 / Series 11-13
  • Katya Virshilas – Series 7-9
  • Natalie Lowe – Series 7-10 / Series 12-14
  • Artem Chigvintsev – Series 8-11
  • Jared Murillo – Series 8
  • Robin Windsor – Series 8-11
  • Pasha Kovalev – Series 9-16
  • Iveta Lukosiute – Series 10-12
  • Anya Garnis – Series 11
  • Jannette Manrara – Series 11-18
  • Aljaž Škorjanec – Series 11-19
  • Kevin Clifton – Series 11-17
  • Joanne Clifton – Series 12 / S14
  • Trent Whiddon – Series 12
  • Tristan MacManus – Series 12-13
  • Gleb Savchenko – Series 13
  • Oti Mabuse – Series 13-19
  • AJ Pritchard – Series 14-17
  • Oksana Platero – Series 14