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Lucy Needham & Catherine Addison-Swan

Strictly’s Ellie Simmonds talks ‘unknowns’ of dancing with dwarfism as star moved by sweet message

Strictly Come Dancing star Ellie Simmonds has spoken about the ‘unknown’ logistics of dancing with dwarfism.

The Paralympic swimming champion made her debut on the BBC show when the popular series returned on Friday, partnered with pro dancer Nikita Kuzmin. As the first contestant with dwarfism to take part in the competition, 27-year-old Ellie previously said that the pair had been “figuring it all out” when it came to how they would dance together, the Mirror reports .

"Me and Nikita were saying like, how are we going to work it? And we're both in the unknown, " Ellie told Digital Spy.

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“Nikita has never danced with anyone with dwarfism before, I've never ever danced before, so how is it gonna work out?” the Paralympic gold medallist continued. “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 said. And the importance of representation was clear to see in a post shared by the star before her first live show.

Ellie reacted with crying emojis to a Twitter post from a mum whose daughter also has dwarfism, after she shared the girl’s reaction to Ellie’s appearance on Strictly. “When Ellie Simmonds said ‘I have dwarfism’ on Strictly my daughter screamed excitedly ‘I have dwarfism too!!!’” the mum wrote.

Ellie was born with achondroplasia, the most common cause of dwarfism, which is a disorder of bone growth. According to research by Little People UK, achondroplasia affects one person in up to 40,000 people.

The swimmer previously told BBC Breakfast: “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. We're not going to hold each other in the same postures that everyone else does and it's about figuring it all out.”

Saying that he was excited to work with Ellie, Nikita added that her disability was not the main focus for the pair. “For me, the goal for this season is for Ellie to have the best time of her life!” he said.


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