Meet Shirley Ballas! Here’s what we know so far about Len Goodman’s Strictly replacement…


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

BBC bosses announced Shirley Ballas as Len Goodman's replacement on Strictly Come Dancing as the new head judge in May this year.

After what felt like years of waiting to find out who Len Goodman's replacement was, the Strictly bosses revealed in May that Latin dancing legend Shirley Ballas would take over as the new head judge.

Rumours were rife over who would be replacing Len, who announced his departure just before the last series of the popular ballroom dancing talent show.

The 2016 Strictly Come Dancing line-up - Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel-Horwood (Credit: BBC/ Strictly Come Dancing) ©BBC/ Strictly Come Dancing

BBC bosses at Strictly announced that "The Queen Of Latin" Shirley Ballas would be taking over the coveted head judge spot on the popular dancing talent show.

Of the new role, she said: "I am so excited and over the moon to have been given this wonderful opportunity. I can't wait to get in to the ballroom and be part of the incredible and respected judging panel!

"Strictly Come Dancing is so loved by the British public, I have always been a massive fan. I just can't wait!"

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Thankfully, she has been given the seal of approval by the other judges too.

Bruno Tonioli said: "I know Shirley well - she is an incredible Latin dancer and trainer and I am sure she will be a great addition to the 'Strictly...' team."

Darcey Bussell added: "I look forward to meeting Shirley and welcoming her to our 'Strictly...' team. Her years of experience in Ballroom and Latin dancing are impressive and I'm sure she will be a great addition to our judging panel."

Resident meanie Craig Revel-Horwood said: "Fantastic news that Shirley will be joining me and the other judges on the panel. I look forward to working with her on the next series of 'Strictly...'!"

Shirley is a Latin American dancing legend (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Who is Shirley Ballas?

Shirley Ballas is a decorated Latin American professional dancer, and has won many international competition titles during her extensive career.

Shirley, 56, is a ballroom dancer who specalises in International Latin dance, winning many championship titles.

Her credentials should soothe any worries that Strictly fans may have over whether she is knowledgeable enough, as she is a three-time winner of the British Open to the World Latin American competition, as well as winning the US Latin American comp a whopping 10 times!

How old is Shirley Ballas?

Shirley Ballas is 56-years-old.

Shirley's ex-husband Corky Ballas (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Is Shirley Ballas married?

Shirley Ballas was first married to her dance partner Sammy Stopford for four years, during which time they became world champions and went onto win several titles together in Latin America dancing for many years. They split in 1984.

After their split in 1984, Shirley went on to marry fellow Latin America dancer Corky Ballas, with whom she won many more dancing competitions. The couple had one son, Mark Ballas.

However, Shirley and Corky split in 2007 and he dated former Strictly professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff for a time. Kristina is now in a relationship with her former Strictly partner Ben Cohen.

She is very close with her son Mark Ballas, who is a professional dancer on American version Dancing with the Stars (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Shirley Ballas children

Shirley Ballas has one child – son Mark, 31, who is now a professional dancer on the American version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars. He is married to American singer-songwriter and actress BC Jean, who is best known for writing If I Were A Boy, sung by Beyoncé.

Shirley Ballas Twitter

Shirley Ballas' Twitter handle is @ShirleyBallas.

Are you happy with Shirley replacing Len on Strictly Come Dancing? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

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