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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Lucy Needham

Strictly's Ellie on 'unknown' logistics of dancing with dwarfism as fan tweet sparks tears

Elllie Simmonds has opened up about the 'unknown' logistics of dancing with dwarfism on Strictly.

The Paralympic swimmer, 27, is partnered with Nikita Kuzmin and said they will both be venturing into the 'unknown' with their performances.

Ellie said she hoped that by performing on the BBC One show she would inspire other people with the same condition.

"Me and Nikita were saying like, how are we going to work it? And we're both in the unknown, " Ellie said ahead of their first show.

"Nikita has never danced with anyone with dwarfism before, I've never ever danced before, so how is it gonna work out? I feel like I've seen Rose [Ayling Ellis] do it last year, JJ [Chalmers] ,Lauren [Steadman], Jonnie [Peacock], Will [Bayley] ... there's been so many with disabilities. Representation and to be part of that is just a huge honour," Ellie told the Radio Times.

Nikita Kuzmin and Ellie Simmonds perform at the first live Strictly show of 2022 (PA)

Five-time gold medalist Ellie has spoken before about the height difference between her and Nikita before, telling BBC Breakfast it would be 'differen't but the pair were "figuring it all out".

"My partner is tall and I am small, I've never danced and they've never danced with an individual with dwarfism before so it's going to be different," she said.

"We're not going to hold each other in the same postures that everyone else does and it's figuring it all out," Ellie explained.

Ellie was born with achondroplasia, the most common cause of dwarfism, which is a disorder of bone growth.

Ellie said she and Nikita were 'working out' how to adapt the traditional poses (PA)

According to research by Little People UK, achondroplasia affects one person in up to 40,000 people.

Nikita also said he was just as excited to work with Ellie and said her disability was not his focus.

"For me, the goal for this season is for Ellie to have the best time of her life!” he said.

Before the first live show, Ellie shared a heartwarming post of support from a mother whose daughter also has dwarfism.

The mum reached out to Ellie on Twitter leaving the sports star in tears.

Ellie was moved to tears by a sweet post from a mum whose daughter also has dwarfism (elliesimmonds/Instagram)
Ellie and Nikita finished seventh on the leaderboard for their first week Cha Cha Cha (PA)

"When Ellie Simmonds said 'I have dwarfism on Strictly my daughter screamed excitedly "I have dwarfism too!!!" And I swear if you tell me again that representation doesn't mater!" tweeted the mum.

Ellie shared the sweet post to her own social medias and wrote 'literally' followed by teary emojis.

Saturday night proved to be a strong night for Ellie and Nikita who won wide praise for their 'sassy' Cha Cha Cha to Dance by DNCE and wound up a respectable seventh on the leaderboard, landing the same score as Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez.

Will Mellor and Hamza Yassin topped the leaderboard in week one - both receiving scores of 34 from the impressed judges.

Will Mellor was in tears as he dedicated his first Strictly dance to his late father (BBC)

At the other end, Tony Adams and Matt Goss look the most in danger of being eliminated first.

Tony scored just 15 for his Arsenal-inspired Tango while Matt scored straight 5's from the four judges for his Quickstep - giving him a score of 20.

Former footballer Tony looked gutted to receive harsh criticism for his footwork, telling Claudia Winkleman he felt he had let partner Katya Jones down.

The ex-England captain has a glittering footballing career - winning 13 honours during his time at Arsenal including four league titles before he retired in May 2002.

Strictly returns to BBC One Saturday 1 October at 6.45pm

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