Aljaž Škorjanec quits Strictly Come Dancing after nine years as BBC dancer


Aljaž Škorjanec is leaving Strictly Come Dancing after nine years as a professional on the show.

The star made the announcement today and said he made the decision “some time ago”,

The star, who competed with Dragon’s Den’s Sara Davies last year, paid tribute to his past celebrity partners, the Strictly crew and his fellow dancers.

Slovenian-born Aljaž also said he was very emotional to walk away after almost a decade.

A 19 times ballroom champion, he was a favorite among viewers, and previously won the show with model Abbey Clancy in 2013.

He also reached the end with Gemma Atkinson in 2017.

As he shared the news of his departure to fans on social media, Aljaž gave a special shout out to wife Janette Manrara, who left the show in 2021 and has been carving out a new career as a TV host on the BBC.

“We were dating when we started together on the show and now we are husband and wife,” he said of Janette, who fronts Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two.

Aljaž’s decision comes just two months after another of the show’s most popular stars, Oti Mabuse, announced she was leaving.

In a statement released today explaining his decision, Aljaž said: “On a beautiful sunny day in May 2013 one phone call changed my life forever!

“It went like this… we would like to offer you a position on @bbcstrictly as a professional dancer. A dream became a reality and it was the biggest opportunity for a 23 year old boy from Slovenia. It didn’t matter how many beautiful ballrooms I performed in during my competitive career, stepping onto the sacred Strictly floor was the most nervous I had ever been.

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“A little while ago I made the tough decision that Strictly 2021 would be my last. The show has given me an opportunity and freedom to create and express myself in front of millions of people every weekend for the last 9 years. The love and support I got from the team of producers was second to none. Louise Rainbow, Sarah James, Kim Winston, Jack Gledhill are just a few of the unsung heroes behind the success of the show – I am forever grateful to them!

“Being a part of a group of professionals that inspire and push you to be better every step of the way is humbling and I will carry that inspiration with me forever. Every year the lineup of dancers would change but one thing stayed the same, WE WERE THE BEST!And this is one thing that I know will never change on Strictly!

“Strictly also has the BEST backstage team – the hair and make-up team, costume department, lighting, sound, props and special effects, camera operators… THANK YOU!

“My beautiful partners – Abbey Clancy, Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe, Kate Silverton, Gemma Atkinson, Emma Weymouth, Clara Amfo and Sara Davies.

“It’s hard to put into words how many beautiful memories we have had. I LOVE YOU ALL!

“To my bucka.. from picking songs, creating stories and choreographing steps we always did it as a team. Your talent and selflessness knows no bounds. We were dating when we started together on the show and now we are husband and wife. We got to perform with Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, BBC Symphony Orchestra… moments I will keep in my heart forever. I LOVE YOU!

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“And finally, thank YOU, the people that watch Strictly who have been so kind to me all these years. Every comment, vote, kind message never went unnoticed. You are the reason we all do it, thank you!”

Aljaž ended his message by teasing his plans for the future.

“I have lots of exciting stuff planned that I will fill you in on soon. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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