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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rose Hill

Strictly's Ellie Simmonds explains how Nikita is adapting dances for her dwarfism

Strictly star Ellie Simmonds has opened up about how her pro partner Nikita Kuzmin will need to adapt their dances.

The gold medallist Paralympian, 27, is the first star to take part in the BBC dancing show with achondroplasia, which is a form of short-limbed dwarfism.

Celebs and pros are usually paired together based largely on height, though Ellie and Nikita will have an immediate challenge on their hands due to their difference in stature - Ellie's 4ft to Nikita's 5'9.

Speaking to the Mirror ahead of her debut on the dance floor, Ellie said: "I did a little pairing list - I got some but I didn't get other ones. I thought it would be either Nikita or Gorka and I got Nikita, which I'm so happy with.

Paralympian Ellie Simmonds is taking part in Strictly this year (Instagram)

"He's amazing and so lovely. We're just figuring out it out because he's never danced with a person of short stature before and I've never danced before. It's all new - we said to each other, we're just going to figure it out and see how we can adapt it."

Continuing, Ellie said that she felt disability representation within the show was "so important" and was hoping to "do it for the dwarfism community".

"Like Will [Bayley] and Rose [Ayling-Ellis] and Johnnie [Peacock] - disability representation is so important," she said. "To do it for the dwarfism community, for disability people... dancing is something that I've never done before and if I can do it then anyone watching from home can realise 'I'm different, I can still dance as well'. For me and Nikita, it's just figuring it out."

However, Ellie admitted that she has been struggling with her nerves and has had many sleepless nights since agreeing to do the show.

"This weekend I've hardly slept! Yesterday and today, so nervous! I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, we've got to do it in front of a live audience on Saturday night.' You get very, very nervous. But also, it's excitement too - that middle ground. So yes, it's nerve-wracking - it's like Christmas. You can't wait for the presents but you're daunted by it all.

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