Brian Fortuna waltzes away from Strictly Come Dancing
Story by Jack Foley
STRICTLY Come Dancing dancer Brian Fortuna has quit the show in response to changes that have been made to the format.
The popular dancer announced his decision after he and some colleagues were asked to perform professional-only routines in the next series, rather than dancing with celebrities.
It is not yet known whether fellow dancers Ian Waite, Matthew Cutler, Darren Bennett or Lilia Kopylova have accepted the new format.
But as part of the changes, the number of celebrity dancers is to be cut from 16 to 14 and three new male dancers will partner them.
The new recruits will replace 2009 semi-finalist Fortuna, as well as Waite, Cutler and Bennett, who have been asked, along with Kopylova, to form a new group and perform “show-stopping dance spectacles” each week.
Fortuna, however, declined to accept the invitation, revealing that he had chosen instead to concentrate on the West End stage show Burn The Floor, which will see him perform with his 2009 Strictly partner, actress Ali Bastian.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Fortuna said: “I really enjoyed working on Strictly over the years – loved the fans and loved all the people I got work with – but there are changes planned for the next season so I’ve decided not to return to the show.
“Both Ali and I are looking forward to seeing all our fans at the Shaftesbury Theatre.”
Fortuna first joined Strictly in 2008 when he partnered M People singer Heather Small.
The three new male professionals coming to the new season of Strictly are Robin Windsor, Jared Murillo and Artem Chigvintsev, a Latin champion and graduate of the US dance show, So You Think You Can Dance.
Mark Linsey, BBC controller of entertainment commissioning, said: “I’m delighted to be welcoming three new, fantastic dancers to Strictly and am really excited about the introduction of a professional dance group, giving us even more opportunities to feature different areas of expertise and more genres of dance than in any other series.”