Credit: BBC

Review: Strictly Come Dancing 2021

By Lottie Townend

Lottie looks back on the highlight moments of the 19th season of the BBC’s prime time Saturday night dancing show.

Since 2004, Strictly Come Dancing has waltzed its way onto our screens, bringing glitz and glamour to Saturday nights, and this year’s series was no different. From Judi Love getting the judges to twerk, Anton Du Beke being promoted to a judge (finally getting the recognition he deserves), John Whaite and Johannes Radebe forming the first male same-sex couple, and Rose Ayling-Ellis being the first ever deaf contestant (who, spoiler alert, then went on to triumphantly win the series), it is safe to say this year saw many unbelievably wonderful firsts for the show. A format that was perhaps becoming a little stale, was suddenly rejuvenated to bring everyone the hope and laughter they needed in such strange, grey times.

Let’s look back through some highlights from the series, and, of course, I will give my ‘expert’ opinions, as we all know we instantly acquire judge-like expertise when watching from our sofas in our pyjamas, am I right?

  1. AJ and Kai’s Jive (week one)

What a way to begin the series! The footwork was intricate and energy was immensely high. It really showed AJ’s potential and she definitely became my one to watch for the rest of the series.

  1. John and Johannes’ Paso Doble (week three)

Movie week is always guaranteed fun because the contestants get the chance to take on a character and just lose themselves in the fun narrative of the dance, and John’s performance was no exception. It was so interesting to see how they adapted a dance that is traditionally so heavily reliant on gender roles to create a powerful, dynamic performance.

  1. Sara and Aljaž’s Tango (week four)

This was the first dance of Sara’s that really stood out to me. The use of colour in the camera work, having the entire frame in black and white apart from her purple dress, truly highlighted the intensity of the emotion.

  1. Tilly and Nikita’s Couples Choice (week nine)

For me, this was when Tilly was able to break from her shell and just have fun with the performance. Her past dances showed her progression in ability, but you could tell she was finally letting go of her nerves here and relaxing into the flow of the music.

  1. Rose and Giovanni’s Couples Choice (week eight)

Finally, it’s time to talk about Rose. She was my favourite dancer this series, possibly even from any series. Each week I was amazed at how she was able to perform without actually hearing the complex rhythms and beats of the music. By far the most heart-stopping moment of the show was her Couples Choice. The contemporary dance was contagiously energetic, and then suddenly, when the music faded, the audience was introduced to what it must be like for Rose as she dances. A few sounds and beats were faint but otherwise, complete silence. The inclusion of this moment while the couple continued dancing drew the audience into Rose’s world, creating a powerful moment of reflection and realisation for the viewer.

Overall, the series provided a place of escape and comfort from the difficulties of the outside world. You become personally invested in each contestant’s journey, root for their success and feel the warmth through their shared love for dance, something I had the joy of experiencing this month at the live tour!


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