Ex Strictly star issues stark warning to new professional dancers

Angela Rippon on her first Strictly rehearsals on set

Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton has offered some stark advice to this year’s cast as the show gets underway for its 21st series.

Opening up in an interview with Betway, Joanne said: “I always give the contestants the same advice, and that is to let go of your fears and have fun.

“You need to embrace you’re on Strictly Come Dancing. You’ve been given this incredible opportunity for a reason and you deserve to be here.

“If you’re given a pink, lycra outfit, with all the sparkles and glitter, own it – because you will never get that same chance again.”

She continued: “The pros don’t need any advice. But for any of the new pros, I would tell them to concentrate on the celebrity and not yourself.”

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Joanne warned: “Don’t show off all your abilities – I made that mistake with Scott Mills. I was new, and I was coming in as a champion, so I tried to show off what I could do because of the pressure of being a newbie. When you look at how Anton taught Ann Widdecombe, he didn’t treat her as a funny act.

“He didn’t go, ‘You’re the funny act, so let’s make it funny.’ He treated her like she was a world champion and he got the best out of her that way.

“You need to concentrate on the celebrity instead of your own successes.”

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The 39-year-old joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2014, battling against her older brother Kevin Clifton for the Glitterball Trophy.

Kevin joined the show in 2013 and he found love with celebrity contestant Stacey Dooley in series 16. He stepped down from the show in recent years.

The documentary maker and dancer star have gone on to have a child together called Minnie who was born in January.

This year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up includes Ellie Leach, Adam Thomas, Zara McDermott and Les Dennis.

Angela Rippon will be the show’s oldest-ever contestant, making her Strictly Come Dancing debut aged 78.

The stars’ professional partners were announced last Saturday night for the 2023 launch show which was watched by more than six million viewers.

Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday on BBC One.

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