Renowned Latin dancer and international coach Shirley Ballas has been announced as the new head judge on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Known as the Queen of Latin, Ballas is one of the most decorated professional dancers in the world, and is a three-time British Open to the World Latin American champion and 10-time United States Latin American champion.
Since retiring from competitive dancing in 1996, she has worked as a coach to top professional and amateur dancers, and as an adjudicator for ballroom and Latin American competitions around the world.
Her son, musician and dancer Mark Ballas, has won Dancing with the Stars twice in the US, and Shirley Ballas acted as a guardian to fellow Dancing with the Stars winners Julianne and Derek Hough during their childhood in London.
She joins Strictly judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, after Len Goodman stepped down at the end of the 14th series.
Ballas said she was “over the moon” to be joining the BBC’s hit entertainment show, adding, “I can’t wait to get into the ballroom and be part of the incredible and respected judging panel. Strictly is so loved by the British public, I have always been a massive fan. I just can’t wait!"
More than 13 million people tuned in to watch Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton lift the glitterball trophy in last year’s Strictly final.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One for its 15th series this autumn.