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Chinese dancer set to join BBC's hit 'Strictly Come Dancing'

By ANGUS MCNEICE in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-01 09:29

The BBC has announced that Xu Xi, a professional dancer from Hunan province who is known in the United Kingdom as Nancy Xu, will become the first Chinese performer to join the cast of the hit British variety show Strictly Come Dancing.

The broadcaster confirmed that the 28-year-old will join the show for its 17th season, which airs in September. The show features professional dancers paired with 15 celebrities, who all compete in a series of televised dance contests in front of a panel of judges.

Strictly Come Dancing has run since 2004 and is consistently one of the best performing series on British television. Last year, the show's final drew 12.9 million viewers, which was the fifth-highest viewership for a single TV instalment, behind two World Cup fixtures, and the season finales of BBC drama The Bodyguard and ITV reality series I'm a Celebrity.

Reacting to the announcement, which was made public on her birthday on Monday, Xu said she was "thrilled and excited" to join the show.

"I can finally announce that this year I'll be one of the Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers," Xu wrote on social media. "I cannot wait to start this new journey with all these amazing people and share the magic together. Thank you so much Strictly for one of the most beautiful birthday gifts ever, thank you for making my dream come true. This is a very special day. See you soon everyone, stay tuned on BBC."

In a statement, BBC producers said they were "thrilled to announce another addition to the Strictly family" and described Xu as a "world-class Latin dancer".

On Wednesday evening, the BBC begins revealing which 15 celebrities will compete on the show. Soccer manager Sam Allardyce, Made in Chelsea reality TV star Jamie Laing, and veteran British broadcaster Anneka Rice are all rumored to be taking part.

This will be Xu's fourth outing on a major entertainment production. She was a finalist on the Chinese edition of the United States franchise So You Think You Can Dance in 2014,when she also appeared in the Chinese version of US show Dancing with the Stars. In 2015, she toured the world with live dance show Burn the Floor, which included runs at venues in the famed theater districts of Broadway in New York and the West End in London.

Xu's inclusion was well received by Strictly fans and the announcement has racked up over 30,000 likes across the show's social media platforms.

"So excited," one fan wrote on Twitter. "She was incredible in Burn the Floor, can't wait to see her on Strictly."

British professional dancer Kevin Clifton, who is a cast member on Strictly Come Dancing and who previously worked with Xu on Burn the Floor, said he was "so proud" to have her join the show.

Xu started her dance education aged 8 and was soon admitted to Guangdong Dance School in Guangzhou. She became a professional Latin and ballroom dancer at the age of 11.

Her training laid the foundation for a series of solid results in international dance competitions and she reached the finals of the under-21 Latin International Championships in London in 2010 and took third place at the Chinese Ballroom Dance Federation National Amateur Latin Championships in 2010 and 2012.She was also a runner-up at the 2013 International Singapore Championships.

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