Who are the new Strictly Come Dancing stars – co-star fling to Giovanni link

All eyes are not just on the Strictly Come Dancing celebs, but also on the professional dancers in the latest series.

The dancers have become stars in their own right in recent years – from BAFTA award winner Giovanni Pernice to 2021 finalist Johannes Radebe.

Now a new batch of professionals have joined the cast, including world champions and dancers with links to current Strictly stars.

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As the current series continues on BBC One, Daily Star takes a closer look inside the lives of the new Strictly professionals.

Vito Coppola

Vito Coppola, 30, is just one of four new stars taking to the dance floor for the new series of Strictly.

The talented star became a dance sensation at the age of just 10 years old after he won national championships in Italy.

From there he became an 11-time Latin American dance champion, three-time World Championship finalist and a European Cup winner – now that's a lot of trophies.

He's no stranger to Strictly either, as he previously competed on the Italian version of the show called Ballando con le Stelle, where he was crowned champion alongside partner Arisa in 2021.

It is reported that he and Arisa also formed a romantic bond away from the cameras, but that the couple have since parted ways.

Italian publication Mio reported that the pair's split was amicable and that they remain on "good terms" and have a "friendly bond."

Vito has not commented on whether he is in another relationship, or if he is single.

Talking about becoming part of the Strictly family, Vito said: "I am really excited to become part of this family."

He added: "I cannot wait to start this new adventure and to challenge myself. Strictly sto arrivando! (translated to: Strictly I am coming!)"

Vito is currently partnered with X-Factor star Fleur East, with the pair delighting the crowd with their cha cha cha to Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud in week one.

Fleur has paid a sweet tribute to her partner on Instagram since making their debut on the dance floor, sharing a sweet snap of them alongside the caption: "This photo was taken moments after we met for the first time. It now feels like we've known each other for so much longer than we have!"

She has even coined a sweet name for the duo – "Fleurito."

Michelle Tsiakkas

Another Latin dance champion to join Strictly is Cyprian Michelle Tsiakkas, who became the undefeated national title champion between 2001 to 2011.

As well as representing England at international dance competitions, she also toured the world with the dance show Burn The Floor after moving to London.

Speaking about joining Strictly, Michelle said: "Being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has been my dream ever since I was a little girl. I cannot believe my dream has come true.

"I’m so grateful to be joining this incredible family and I can’t wait to step on that magical dance floor and give it my all!"

However, with a cast of 15 celebrities and 20 professional dance partners, Michelle was not paired with one of the stars this year.

Instead, she will be strutting her stuff on the dance floor in the group performances and assisting backing dancers when needed.

Away from the limelight, Michelle tends to keep her personal life private, and it is not known if she is in a relationship.

Lauren Oakley

Birmingham-born Lauren Oakley has been dancing for most of her life, after showing off her fabulous footwork from the age of just two years old.

As a child, she became the Juvenile Champion in both Ballroom and Latin Dance, before becoming the Under 21 British National Champion.

The star also has hidden links to Strictly stars Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice, as she performed alongside them during their national tours.

After Lauren was announced as one of the new Strictly professional dancers, Giovanni congratulated the "leading lady" from his tour, sharing a throwback snap of him giving Lauren a kiss on the cheek.

He captioned the adorable post: "Nobody deserves it more than you @laurenmayoakley… go on super [star]."

In a link to fellow newcomer Michelle Tsiakkas, Lauren also performed on the global Burn The Floor dance tour.

Similarly to Michelle, Lauren was also not paired with a celebrity for this series, and will instead be appearing in the group performances alongside the backing dancers.

On joining the hit BBC show, Lauren said: "I’ve grown up watching Strictly, always hoping that one day I could be part of the best show on television, doing what I love the most.

"Now that it’s happening, it doesn’t seem real. I can’t wait to start this new sequined adventure and join this incredible family."

Away from the dance floor, Lauren has been married to her husband Maximiliano Omar Montes de Oca since 2019.

Earlier this year, she paid a sweet tribute on Instagram to her husband, posting a sweet snap of the two of them together with the caption: "Husband appreciation – cause he doesn’t get any of my insta time (or real time)."

Carlos Gu

Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu, 28, has won awards across the globe, including becoming a multiple world-semi finalist.

That's not all, as he was placed 3rd at the German Open Championship and was also an Amateur Rising Star Runner Up at the 2017 UK Dance Open.

Away from the limelight, the star keeps his personal life private and it is not known if he is in a relationship.

Speaking about joining Strictly, where he is paired with actress Molly Rainford, the star said: "I'm thrilled to join Strictly and very excited to get started.

"It's a new chapter of my life and a new challenge as well. I'm absolutely ready to take on this journey and to shine."

Although new to the show, Carlos has already struck up close bonds with his fellow professional dancers including Nancy Xu, Diane Buswell, Johannes Radebe and Katya Jones.

Taking to Instagram to thank his followers for their support on Strictly, Katya replied in the comments: "We love you Carlos! You are such a beautiful person and a phenomenal dancer! I can’t wait for everyone to see it!"

He recently got Strictly host Claudia Winkleman in a fluster too, after he demonstrated the passion of the rumba to her, before taking hold of her and staring passionately into her eyes.

Claudia then fanned herself and joked: "I think I'm pregnant."

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