Two-thirds of Strictly Come Dancing line-up have had professional dance training

Nine of this year’s Strictly stars have had professional training, we can reveal.

That is almost two-thirds of the entire line-up.

Between them they have decades of experience in a range of dance styles.

Bake Off champion John Whaite, below, spent five years learning to dance but insists it won’t give him any advantage.

He said: “Between the ages of 10 to 14, I did ballet, modern and tap. So I may have a few dancing bones in my body, but I’m not necessarily very good rhythmically.”

Ex-EastEnders star Nina Wadia, right, had lessons for 12 years.

She said: “I trained when I was a very little girl.

“I did some Indian dance training called Bharatanatyam, from ages four to nine. And then when we moved to Hong Kong from 11 to 16 I did tap dancing.”

Former Corrie star Katie McGlynn has also had plenty of experience.

She said: “I did ­pantomimes when I was younger and I did the chorus performances.

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“I also did The Greatest Dancer for Sport Relief. You only had two days to train but I had so much fun.”

McFly rocker Tom Fletcher was trained in dance at stage school, and CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson had street dance lessons years ago.

Social media sensation Tilly Ramsay and EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis both went to ballet school.

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And two contestants have competed on TV dance shows – comic Robert Webb, bottom, won Let’s Dance For Sport Relief, while sports star Ugo Monye was on ITV’s The Real Full Monty.

Just six of this year’s contestants are total novices.

The revelation that such a large number of stars have dance experience is set to divide opinions among fans of the show.

In the past, contestants such as Alexandra Burke and Ashley Roberts faced a backlash because they were already professionals before they signed up.

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