Strictly Come Dancing tip toes onto our screens on 10 July 2013 on SABC 3

Back in 2008, I was working at Rapid Blue, the producers of Strictly Come Dancing, as the Cast Scheduler for this show. This meant that I interacted closely with the celebrities on that season (Anele Mdoda, Cindy Nell-Roberts, and Hlubi Mboya to name a few) as well as the professional dancers.

Even before I worked on the show, I loved to watch it. Called “Dancing with the Stars” in the USA, the gruelling (and I do mean blood, sweat and tears gruelling) practice sessions means that the celebrities really do have to dedicate their time and energy to hours of dance routines until they perfect every move.

Now, the much anticipated 6th season of the dance franchise is due to premiere on SABC3 on Wednesday, the 10th of July 2013 at 8pm.

This season’s celebrities and their dance partners were recently announced, and here they are! (Drum roll please…)

The five male contestants are Expresso presenter Graeme Richards, comedian Mpho Popps, 5fm breakfast radio producer Damon Kalvari, Durban based musician L’vovo and popular actor Thapelo Mokoena.

The five female contestants are TV presenters Lalla Hirayama and Kuli Roberts, and popular actresses Connie Ferguson, Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers) and Jay Anstey (Isidingo).

Risuna Mayimele, SABC3 Marketing Manager, added that “This is a very talented and exciting group of celebrity contestants that will no doubt provide loads of weekly entertainment for our loyal viewers during the live show every Wednesday between 8pm and 10pm. Their various attributes and entertainment industry experience will make for very entertaining and electrifying television”.

Putting the celebrities through their paces will be a very talented team of professional dancers that consists of Hayley Hammond, Hayley Bennet, Nombulelo Hlathi, Mary Martins, Lindsey Muckle, Sylvester Sefotlhelo, Grant Esterhuizen, Brandon Eilers, Ryan Hammond and Tsholo Moholowane.

Hayley Hammond, Mary Martin, Ryan Hammond, Brandon Eilers and Hayley Bennet have been part of previous seasons of Strictly Come Dancing and share four victories amongst themselves. They return to hunt for more accolades alongside very capable newcomers Nombulelo Hlathi, Sylvester Sefotlhelo, Grant Esterhuizen and Tsholo Moholwane.

Pairings for the celebrity contestants and their dance partners are:

Damon Kalvari and Hayley Hammond
Damon and Hayley

Thapelo Mokoena and Hayley Bennet
Thapelo and Hayley

Mpho Popps and Nombulelo Hlathi
Mpho and Nombulelo

L’Vovo and Mary Martins
Lvovo and Mary

Graeme Richards and Lindsey Muckle
Graeme and Lindsey

Kuli Roberts and Sylvester Sefotlhelo
Kuli and Sylvester

Lalla Hirayama and Grant Esterhuizen
Lalla and Grant

Connie Ferguson and Brandon Eilers
Connie and Brandon

Zakeeya Patel and Ryan Hammond
Zakeeya and Ryan

Jay Antsey and Tsholo Moholwane
Jay and Tsholo

I was so happy to hear that the new hosts for the show are comedian Marc Lottering and radio DJ, Pabi Moloi, who take over the anchor roles on the weekly live show. Marc should be adding a large dose of fun and laughs to the show with his brand of humour, and Pabi Moloi is sure to draw the 20 something age group ratings to the show.

With a brand new judging panel of dance industry professionals Michael Wentink, Tebogo Kgobokoe and Samantha Peo, the sixth season of the popular dance franchise, and first season on SABC 3, promises to be a major highlight for South African television this year.

Remember to set your PVR for Strictly Come Dancing, which broadcasts on SABC3 on Wednesdays between 20:00 – 22:00 from Wednesday, 10 July 2013.

Now go get your dance shoes on and give us a twirl, because we all need a bit of glitz and glamour in our lives, if only for 2 hours a week.

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