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After Seven Years Of Appearances, Oti Mabuse Is To Leave Strictly Come Dancing

Oti Mabuse is to leave Strictly Come Dancing after seven years as a professional dancer on the show.

The South African star, 31, won the BBC One contest twice, with Kelvin Fletcher in 2019 and Bill Bailey in 2020.

"I can't put in to words how difficult this decision has been, but I have decided not to return for the next series," she said.

Oti, whose sister Motsi joined Strictly as a judge in 2019, is currently a judge on ITV's Dancing On Ice.

During her time on Strictly, Oti became the only professional to have lifted the glitterball trophy two years in a row. Her unexpected victory with comedian Bailey has gone down as one of the show's greatest achievements.

She has also been partnered with celebrities Anthony Ogogo, Danny Mac, Jonnie Peacock, Graeme Swann and, last year, Ugo Monye.

She said she had loved "lifting the glitterball twice and having the best journey with all my celebrities, but also meeting and working with the best team, crew, producers, celebs and professional dancers".

She added: "You are my family and I adore you all forever. I'm honestly so grateful to the BBC and will always remember that Strictly and the BBC brought me to the UK - which I now call home and I have learnt and grown so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Strictly executive producer Sarah James said Oti had been "a truly wonderful part of Strictly for the past seven years".

She said: "Her energy, creativity and talent have contributed to so many of the show's most memorable moments and she will be hugely missed, not only by viewers, but the entire team.

"We couldn't be prouder of Oti and what she has achieved on the show. She will always be at the very heart of our Strictly family and we wish her every success in her already bright future."

As well as appearing on Dancing On Ice, Oti was a dance captain on BBC One's The Greatest Dancer and a panellist on ITV's The Masked Dancer.

She also recently presented the BBC podcast Oti Mabuse's Dancing Legends, and has choreographed the UK production of a Cher musical, which opens in Leicester in April.

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