Arlene Phillips hits out at ‘dance trained’ celebs on Strictly

Arlene Phillips on ‘love-hate’ relationship with dance

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Arlene Phillips, 79, sat on the Strictly Come Dancing panel alongside Len Goodman and Craig Revel Horwood from 2004 until 2009. Arlene addressed the supposed advantage dance trained celebrities may have on the BBC show with the professional dancer saying all celebrities have a “real challenge” ahead of them.

They’ve all got a real challenge already ahead of them!

Arlene Phillips

Prior to the start of the latest Strictly season, rumours spread about celebrities in the show lineup, who may have dance training.

This included Helen Skelton who went to ballet school when she was younger and Kym Marsh who has training in theatre.

Shutting down the criticism, Arlene said: “Everyones is aware when they go on Strictly that some people can dance and some people can’t. I cannot remember or think of anyone who has been on Strictly and been trained in Ballroom and Latin.

“They’ve all got a real challenge already ahead of them, even when they’ve danced.

“The advantage dancing gives you or having danced is you are ahead of the game because you have learned how to understand your body.

“Without a doubt, it takes people who haven’t danced a while to learn. You have no understanding or little understanding of how the body works.”

However, Arlene said for those like Tony Adams who has a history in football, may have a better understanding of how to move their body.

She said: “Equally though if they’ve done any sport, you have a great understanding of your body, you have to.

“You have the tools that help you move forward, I would say, to someone who has never done any dancing. ‘Doesn’t mean you will win!’ Lots and lots of non dancers win.”

Arlene was replaced on Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 by Alesha Dixon.

Having been away from the show for many years and still being a huge fan, many questioned whether Arlene would ever return to the show.

However, the dancer has since shut down the idea that she would never go back on the show.

She admitted: “It’s not a question I would ever ask myself because it’s not going to happen. So why even think about it?

“However, I can say I loved the show and I loved being part of it and I do miss it.”

This comes after Arlene told The Mirror last year that she was never told why she was taken off Strictly.

She revealed: “I gave myself 48 hours to kick, scream, cry and sob, and eat scones with cream and jam, then I made myself wake up and get on with it,” she told the newspaper.

“I reflect and think, wow, I really didn’t ask the questions I needed to ask. I was very fragile because I had a bereavement the day before [her manager died].”

She added: “I wanted to know in detail and I wanted to know the real reason at the point when they decided for me to go, yet they kept me hanging on for so long with the possibility that there would be five judges.”

Arlene is currently partnered with Wiltshire Farm Foods which are making dreams come true for those aged 55+ as they nominate themselves for something stipulating, with Arlene then picking the best ones.

Speaking about the campaign, Arlene said: “There is so much to do and see and it’s about time we all got out there to do it – it’s about how you feel inside, not what your age dictates.

“After all, age is just a number! We’re seeing more and more mature adults going above and beyond to achieve the goals they want in life – from cage diving with sharks, to skydives, and other crazy activities!

“I’d love to see more people live out their lifelong dreams in their mature years and embrace the freedom that older age brings, and that’s why I’m working with Wiltshire Farm Foods to launch the Wishlist Fund. Life is for living, so live it.”

The Wishlist Fund is viewed via

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