Aljaž Škorjanec has announced he is leaving Strictly Come Dancing after nine years as a professional dancer on the BBC One show.
Sharing a series of photos on Instagram from his time on the series, he said: “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 nine years. The love and support I got from the team of producers was second to none … I am forever grateful to them!”
The Slovenian dancer won the BBC competition with model Abbey Clancy, the wife of footballer Peter Crouch in 2013, the year he joined the TV series. Other partnerships have included Alison Hammond, Helen George, Gemma Atkinson and, most recently, Sara Davies. He has been dancing since the age of five, and won 19 Slovenian championships in ballroom and Latin as well as representing Slovenia at world level for over a decade.
Škorjanec is married to fellow Strictly star Janette Manrara, having met her when she was a dancer, before she went on to join Rylan Clark as co-host of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.
“I cannot express the sadness in my heart to see @aljazskorjanec say goodbye to @bbcstrictly, but at the same time there is so much joy in my heart for what he has brought to the show these past nine years,” said Manrara in an Instagram post about her husband’s departure.
“He makes every single person he encounters feel absolutely special; ask any of his partners throughout the years. He IS STRICTLY and what Strictly is all about; taking someone who wants to learn to dance, and making them truly fall in love with it.”
Sarah James, executive producer of Strictly Come Dancing, says: “We are so sad to be saying goodbye to Aljaž after almost a decade as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing. Since lifting the glitterball with Abbey Clancy in his debut series he has become a firm favourite with viewers across the country. During his nine series he has provided us with some unforgettable moments on the show through his incredible choreography, passion for dance and heart of gold. He will be missed by his Strictly family, both on and off the dancefloor, and we wish him only the very best as he embarks on his next chapter.”
Škorjanec’s explanation of his future goals are: “I have lots of exciting stuff planned that I will fill you in on soon.”