Earlier in the week we found out which Irish celebs would be taking to the dance floor for Ireland's Dancing with the Stars, and today they have announced the names of the professional dancers they will be paired with. Hailing from Ireland, UK, Ukraine, Estonia and Italy they have been tasked with teaching our celebs how to tango and quickstep, cha cha and rumba.
There are 11 Irish stars taking part (ahem, clearly one dropped out), including; sports commentator Des Cahill, Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony, reporter and patron saint of storms Teresa Mannion, Big Brother's Hughie Maughan, comedian Katherine Lynch, TV and real life doc Dr. Eva Orsmond, international model Thalia Heffernan, former HomeTown boybander Dayl Cronin, comedian Des Bishop, former 'Fair City' actress Aoibhin Garrihy, and 'Red Rock's Denise McCormack.
They will be partnered with one of these professional dancers...
Ryan McShane (32)
Ryan is from Lurgan in Co. Armagh. He started dancing at the tender age of 7 and made his mark when he won his first British competition – the British Nationals. With his partner, Ksenia Zsikhotska, he is now the United Kingdom & British Latin Professional Champion & British Show Dance Champions. Ryan says of this season of Dancing with the Stars, “I cannot wait for my first season on DWTS Ireland, expect fireworks!”.
Ksenia Zsikhotska (27)
Ksenia Zsikhotska’s first introduction to dance was folk dancing classes. Aged 6, she moved from the Ukraine to the U.K. Partnering with Ryan McShane they are also British Open Professional Latin 2016 team members.
John Edward Nolan (26)
John is from Kilkenny and has been dancing since he could walk. By age 3 he was already learning ballet, Irish dancing and set dancing. By six years of age John had taken to ballroom and he hasn’t looked back since. He has represented Ireland at World and European Championships and is Irish Champion in Ballroom and Showdance. The Kilkenny native has worked as a full time teacher in Ballroom & Latin from the past 8 years and has been the head teacher in Xquisite Dance for the last 5 years.
Sean Smullen (21)
Wicklow native Sean started dancing at the age of 4 and moved onto Ballroom and Latin at the age of 9. Since then he has come a long way, with titles such as Luxembourg Open Champions Rising Star 2014, Irish National Show Dance Champions 2015 to his name and was a semi-finalist at the Grand Prix Moscow. He has been the principal teacher at Greenane Dance Studio teaching social and competitive Ballroom and Latin American, Argentine Tango and Irish set dancing. Talking about the Irish series of “Dancing With The Stars” Sean says he’s really excited to get started.
Karen Byrne (24)
Karen is from Ballyfermot and has been dancing since the age of six. At the age of 14 she started travelling to Great Britain and Europe on her own to extend her dancing and teaching abilities with the help of the best teachers in the world. She now runs one of Ireland's biggest and most successful dance schools teaching adults and kids and is Ireland’s top Latin dancer. Karen still competes worldwide representing Ireland in all the major competitions and came first in Adult International Open Latin 2015.
Vitali Kozmin (30)
Born in Tallinn, Estonia, Vitali started dancing at the age of eight. He represented Estonia in World and European Latin-American Championships and is a former National Champion and finalist of many international championships. Having already appeared on the Turkish version of DWTS he knows the challenges ahead!
Valeria Milova (28)
Valeria is Vitali’s dancing partner and also comes from Estonia. She started dancing at age eight and is represented her country at the World and European Latin-American Championships, where she was the finalist of the IDSF Amateur European Union Latin Championship and the finalist of the WDSF World Showdance Latin Championship in 2015. She also appeared in the Turkish edition of DWTS.
Kai Widdrington (21)
Kai is from Southampton and will be well known to Britain’s Got Talent fans having been a finalist in 2012. Kai reappeared on Britain’s Got Talent two years later with the Latin American super-group, Kings & Queens, and they reached the semi-finals of the show. In 2014, Kai moved away from the competitive world of dancing and joined the Ballroom and Latin Dance company, 'Burn The Floor' where he toured the world.
Giulia Dotta (24)
Italian native Giulia Dotta started dancing in her early childhood with Latin and Ballroom Dance and has extensive experience in national and international competitions. At only four years of age, she was chosen to be part of the Italian National Team of Artistic Gymnasts. She has appeared on TV programs such as ‘So You Think You Can Dance Australia’, ‘Dancing with the Stars Australia’ and 2005 Blackpool addition of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
Curtis Pritchard (20)
Curtis Pritchard was born in Cheshire, UK and began his dancing career at the tender age of 11. Following in the footsteps of his professional dancer father, Curtis specialised in Ballroom & Latin. In fact, dancing is somewhat of a tradition in the Pritchard household, his brother AJ recently competed in Strictly Come Dancing as the professional partner of Olympic gymnast, Claudia Fragapane. Curtis became a Ballroom & Latin Junior & Youth Champion and represented The UK in many World and European Championships. Curtis’ professional dancing partner is Emily Barker.
Emily Barker (19)
Emily comes from Nottingham and began her dancing career at the age of seven, specialising in Latin and Ballroom. In 2010, Emily was crowned Ballroom and Latin Junior Champion and has represented the UK in many World and European Championships. Even though she is just 19 she has toured with the stage musicals, ‘Burn the Floor’, ‘Rebellion in the Ballroom’ and ‘Priscilla Queen of The Dessert’.
The 12th Dancer….Shauna is not partnered with a celebrity but she will be taking part in the group professional dances which require an even number of dancers. (JUST TELL US WHO DROPPED OUT ALREADY).
Shauna Finn (17)
Shauna is from Tallaght and has experience with dance styles such as Ballroom and Latin, Ballet, Hip-Hop, contemporary & modern dance, Irish dancing, Musical Theatre & Jazz. She has competed at an international level representing Ireland in Ballroom and Latin and is a 3 times champion in Irish Hip Hop.
'Dancing with the Stars' kicks off on RTÉ One for 12 weeks from 6.30pm Sunday, 8th January.