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Strictly dancer Janette Manrara to replace Zoe Ball on It Takes Two

Janette Manrara is stepping down as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, to replace Zoe Ball as host of its spin-off Strictly: It Takes Two,

The US dancer and choreographer will co-present the show, which goes behind the scenes of the celebrity dance competition, with Rylan Clark-Neal.

Manrara told BBC One’s The One Show the “hardest part of accepting this amazing honour” was “I will not be dancing”.

“I don’t want to well up because I have been welling up a lot today,” she said.

“It’s the realisation that I will not be on that legendary Strictly dancefloor any more. But I feel that this is most beautiful and natural progression.”

Ball, who was a finalist in the third series of Strictly, announced her departure earlier this month, having fronted the BBC Two weekday evening show for 10 years. She also recently appeared as Llama in ITV’s The Masked Dancer.

The BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show presenter took on it Takes Two from Claudia Winkleman, who moved to Strictly Come Dancing after the departure of Bruce Forsyth.

Manrara said she was “still a part of the Strictly family”, adding: “I am still going to be seeing my fellow pros all the time and I will keep dancing, as they say. I will find a way to keep dancing.

“My mum and my dad at home and my family back in Miami, they were immigrants from a small Cuban family, they came over and now their daughter is hosting a huge dance show here in the UK.

“They couldn’t be prouder. I couldn’t feel more privileged to be sharing this with such an awesome group of people.”

Manrara joined Strictly in 2013, dancing with Julien MacDonald, Jake Wood, Peter Andre, Melvin Odoom, Aston Merrygold, Dr Ranj Singh, Will Bayley and HRVY.

It Takes Two’s executive producer Eve Winstanley said: “Her love and passion for all things dance will bring something new and fresh to the show.”

Strictly’s new professional dancers for 2021 will be announced in due course, and Strictly: It Takes Two returns this autumn.

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