The Strictly Pros Who Quit, Why?

The pros at Strictly Come Dancing are just as important as the celebrities – if not more so.

But over the past 18 years, fans have seen many of the professional dancers rolling into new meadows.

Here we take a look at some of those pros who gave up on Strictly … and why they decided to hang up their ballroom shoes.

Janette Manrara

Janette is the youngest of the pros to leave the ballroom (Image: BBC)

Fan favorite Janette Manrara has said goodbye to the main show this year – and instead decided to co-host Strictly: It Takes Too.

When she announced her decision in June, she said, “One of my favorite things to do at Strictly has always been to sit on that couch and just chat. It’s the most fun.

“I thought, ‘This is the coolest job ever. You can sit down, talk about dancing, make people feel good and celebrate their successes on the show … Someday I would love to do that ‘and here we are! “

There was speculation that Janette, married to Strictly Pro Aljaž Škorjanec, had left the main ballroom to start a family.

But since then, pushing back, she has said: “I have said in the past that we want children and one day we will have them. I also want to keep things private. “

AJ Pritchard

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
AJ has his sights set on a career as a moderator (Credit: BBC)

AJ Pritchard shocked fans last year when he announced he was leaving Strictly Come Dancing.

The popular ballroom professional wanted to start a career as a presenter with his brother, ex Love Islander Curtis.

But AJ also admitted that the long days in the studio had taken their toll.

He said The sun shortly after he announced his resignation: “It took six months of my life, some days I worked 18-hour days because I danced and choreographed.

“I didn’t have a life and I wanted to be able to do more.”

Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Professional dance partners Vincent and Flavia give up together (Image:

Flavia Cacace was one of the first professionals to dance on Strictly when it launched in 2003.

She was popular with viewers and was a partner of Louis Smith, Matt Di Angelo, Jimmy Tarbuck and Phil Daniels.

In 2006 her professional ballroom partner Vincent Simone also joined the show.

The couple had met in dance school and had performed together since 1994.

Vincent finished fourth in his freshman year with Louisa Lytton and finished second with Rachel Stevens in 2008.

But in 2013, both Flavia and Vincent left the show. The couple said they wanted to focus on their own shows – together and separately.

“Aside from hopefully performing at Strictly, we have a lot of new projects ahead of us that we’re really looking forward to,” said Flavia.

This fall, Vincent is dancing with former Strictly co-star Ian Waite at The Ballroom Boys.

Flavia, meanwhile, returned to Strictly to share her expert opinion on the spin-off show It Takes Two just this week.

Brendan Cole

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Brendan was in shock after being told he would not be returning to Strictly (Photo Credit:

Brendan Cole stunned fans when he announced during an interview on ITV1’s Lorraine in January 2018 that he would not be returning to Strictly.

The star, who danced on Strictly for 15 series from the start, admitted that he was also shocked by the decision to ditch it.

Brendan said, “I’m a little bit shocked at the moment. I’m pretty emotional and a bit raw about it. I am very disappointed. It’s an editorial choice. I will never know the advantages and disadvantages. “

Kevin Clifton

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Kev regrets leaving Strictly (Photo credit:

Strictly Come Dancing fans were devastated when Kevin Clifton confirmed his departure just weeks before AJ’s 2020 announcement.

It came a year after he and his celebrity partner and current girlfriend, Stacey Dooley, finally lifted the Glitterball trophy.

Kev said he decided it was time to “move on and focus on other areas of his life and career.”

But six months later, and after his starring role on the stage show Strictly Ballroom was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kevin regretted it.

On his podcast, he said, “I think when I’ve learned something, you never close the door. You just don’t know what to do next.

“I thought I would be on stage all year and suddenly it doesn’t happen anymore.”

Ian Waite

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Ian traded ballroom for It Takes Two (Photo credit:

Latin American dancer Ian Waite joined Strictly as a professional in 2005 and appeared on the show for four series.

During this time he was a partner with Jodie Kidd and Penny Lancaster-Stewart.

Most importantly, he was also a partner of Zoe Ball and together they played together in It Takes Two for four years.

Shortly after Zoe’s departure, he announced in May of this year: “With great sadness, but also a lot of pride, after ten years of Waites Warm Up on #ItTakesTwo, @bbcstrictly’s sister show, I will put down my wand to focus on my dance fitness Brand Fitsteps and my upcoming tour with Vincent Simone to focus on The Ballroom Boys.

Joanne Clifton

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why

Kevin Clifton’s sister Joanne was a professional dancer with Strictly for three years before leaving in 2017.

She won the fourteenth series with TV presenter Ore Oduba, but then decided to leave.

Joanne said at the time that she wanted to concentrate on her own music theater career. She also holds dance master classes.

James Jordan

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
James didn’t mince his words after giving up on Strictly (Photo credit:

James Jordan joined Strictly in 2006 and quickly became a fan favorite alongside his wife and professional colleague Ola Jordan.

However, James left the show in 2014 and didn’t go quietly.

The BBC said in a statement at the time: “James Jordan was offered a role that is still on [Strictly Come Dancing].

“It wasn’t supposed to work with a celebrity, but it should be involved in specials like Children in Need and the like. But he refused. He was offered a reduced role on the show. “

Meanwhile, James tweeted, “WELL TWEEPS. Yes, it’s true, I WILL NOT go back to ‘BURN THE FLOOR’…. Sorry, I mean ‘Strictly Come Dancing’… Anyway….

“… don’t believe everything the BBC wrote in its statement.”

Since then, James has built a successful television career, appearing on shows such as The Wright Stuff, Celebrity Big Brother and Total Wipeout.

In 2019 he won ITV1’s Dancing On Ice.

Kristina Rihanoff

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Kristina now runs a dance academy (Photo credit:

Ballroom genius Kristina Rihanoff danced on eight Strictly Come Dancing series before filing her resignation.

The Russian-born star quit in 2016 because “creativity was taken out of her hands”.

she said Hello! Magazine at the time: “It’s very intense and it’s worth it when you have the feeling that you are realizing yourself as an artist … those moments when you feel like you’ve choreographed a great song and a good concept.

“But I have the feeling that some of this creativity has been taken out of my hands.”

Kristina now runs a dance academy in Northampton called the Bespoke Ballroom.

Artem Chigvintsev

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Artem swapped Great Britain for the USA (Source:

Russian-American pro Artem Chigvintsev joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2010 – and won the show with Kara Tointon that same year.

Artem appeared in a total of four series of Strictly before he swapped the British ballroom for the US version.

He joined Dancing With The Stars in 2014 and last appeared on the American show in 2020.

Last year Artem Kris Jenner also gave a ballroom lesson during an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Ola Jordan – Strictly Pros Who Gone

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Ola stayed two years after her husband James quit (Photo Credit:

Ola Jordan joined Strictly in 2006 with her husband and dance partner James.

She enjoyed 10 successful years on the show and eventually left two years after her husband.

But in 2019 Ola – now a mother of one – told The mirror that she would never return.

“Strictly doing without weekends or days off is half a year in your life,” she said.

“Attending the show was great, but sometimes you need to know when to hang up your dancing shoes.

“I’m too old now.”

Karen Hardy

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Strictly pro Karen now runs a super fancy dance studio (Credit:

Karen Hardy joined the cast of Strictly seven years after retiring from professional competition.

She danced on the show from 2005 to 2009 and won the series in 2006 with cricketer Mark Ramprakash.

After leaving the main ballroom, Karen became a regular guest star on the spin-off show It Takes Two.

Karen now runs a ‘5 * dance studio’ in Imperial Wharf, London, complete with a £ 30,000 floor and a champagne bar.

Erin Boag

Strictly Pros Leaving the Show and Why
Pro Erin joined Strictly for the launch (Photo credit:

Erin Boag’s professional dancer partner is the current judge Anton du Beke.

Along with Anton, she joined Strictly when it launched in 2003 and enjoyed 10 years on the show.

Erin quit after becoming pregnant with her husband Peter’s child.

She said at the time, “There has been a lot of speculation about my absence from this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, but I can now reveal the real reason I refused. Yes, I am really excited and happy to say that I am pregnant. “

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