British-born Ballroom and Latin dancer, and international coach Shirley Ballas has been announced as the new Strictly Come Dancign judge.
Replacing Head Judge Len Goodman, Shirley is a former British Open to the World’ Champion, European, German, United Kingdom, United States and International Latin American Champion. She retired from competitive dancing in 1996 and is now an acclaimed and respected international coach to many of the top professional and amateur dancers.
Shirley is also a sought-after adjudicator for Ballroom and Latin American competitions judging all around the world. In the industry Shirley is known as the ‘Queen of Latin’ and she’s the mother of Dancing With The Stars pro Mark Ballas.
Talking about being the new Head Judge Shirley says, “I am so excited and over the moon to have been given this wonderful opportunity. I can’t wait to get in to the ballroom and be part of the incredible and respected judging panel. Strictly is so loved by the British public, I have always been a massive fan. I just can’t wait!”
Shirley will will have the casting vote in the dance-off during the new series, a role that previously belonged to Len.
Fellow judge Bruno Tonioli says, “I know Shirley well – she is an incredible Latin dancer and trainer and I am sure she will be a great addition to the Strictly team.”
Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content says, “Len’s are big shoes to fill, but the ‘Queen of Latin’ is the ideal new Strictly judge. Shirley Ballas is a British ballroom expert whose credentials speak for themselves; she’s going to be a fabulous addition to the best judging panel in showbiz!”
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One for its 15th season this autumn.