SA dancers Oti and Johannes can't wait to show local viewers what they're up to on UK's Strictly Come Dancing

UPDATE -  1 October, 11:00: 

As Johannes is new to the line-up he has not been partnered with a celebrity this year but will still be performing in the group performances done on the show.

Cape Town - Strictly Come Dancing is waltzing back onto BBC Brit (DStv 120) for its 16th season from Sunday, 30 September at 18:00.

This year local audiences will be in for an added treat as the professional dancer line up now champions two South Africans – Oti Mabuse, a former Strictly finalist, and newcomer Johannes Radebe. 

This is Oti’s third season on the show. In 2016 she reached the final with Danny Mac and last year she stayed in the competition for nine weeks with Paralympic Jonnie Peacock.

Johannes is no stranger to the competition, he was on two seasons of the local version and made it to the semi-finals on M-Net’s Dancing with the Stars this year. 


We talked all things Strictly with Oti and Johannes. 

Johannes, how did you get the gig and what was the audition process like?

There was no audition process, I was scouted. They first saw me perform in West End with Burn the Floor. It was nice that they remembered me since then. It was a beautiful thing - I have been wanting to be a part of the show for the past three years. I only found out when they called me on my birthday this year to tell me that I got the gig. I am very happy and excited about the journey.

Johannes, what’s it like following Oti’s footsteps on the show?

Oti has been there for the past two years. When I heard that I was going to be part of the show I was so happy knowing that I would have a sister that side who will guide me. It is really nice to know that there is somebody there that I can relate to.

Oti, what does it mean for you having him on the show?

I am so excited. I can be crazy with somebody else. Now I also have someone to lean on. As much as you can make friends I think people who understand what you have been through there’s a connection and there’s a support system. When we together we will be a force to be reckoned with.

Oti, what’s the best piece of advice you have for Johannes?

I told him that he has to be himself, just be genuine and people will love him. He is such a positive guy, he has good energy and is a talented dancer. He just has to stay true to himself. 

When choreographing a dance where do you get you inspiration from?

Oti: For me when I start I always look for the element of surprise. I want to create something fresh that hasn’t been seen before. I go and research all the Strictly choreography and look for the one thing nobody has done. I also ask the public what they want to see and I am quite mathematical I write the music out, I make sure that I know what every step, beat is and I try to match it to my celebrity. It is long process for me to come up with a number. 

How do you stay motivated during the competition?

Oti: I don’t listen to the bad criticism from the judges. I take what I think is important and I use that to make my celebrity better. 

Johannes: The most important thing for me is forming a bond with my celebrity, so that there is respect and an understanding. I always get my strength from my partners. 

What message do you have for South African fans?

Johannes: Our people should brace themselves for a dance extravaganza. It is going to be incredible and they are in for treat. 

Oti: We are happy for the support – we appreciate every little bit we get!

(Photos supplied: BBC)