SA crowns the dancing king and queen


Despite dropping actress Zakeeya Patel on her head (or rather, her bun) during rehearsal, Ryan Hammond was still allowed to lift the Strictly Come Dancing trophy by his dance partner last night.

“In the 12 weeks we’ve been dancing together, I’ve dropped her once,” said Ryan in his defence.  The pair were crowned Strictly Come Dancing’s king and queen of the dance floor last night, the show’s season six winners, and walked away with a R25 000 individual cash prize.

The public’s votes were the only votes that mattered last night. “We left our hearts out on the dance floor,” said Zakeeya. And won the hearts of South Africans it seems.

Three couples battled it out in the final show ? Zakeeya and Ryan, actor Thapelo Mokoena and partner Hayley Bennet and TV personality Lalla Hirayama and partner Grant Esterhuizen.

Each couple had to dance three dances:

  1. The couple’s best dance of the season;
  2. A dance to the judges’ song of choice ? Please Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna; and
  3. Any dance they wanted to do.

Zakeeya and Ryan dominated the first round with their paso doble and the third round with their freestyle routine. Thapelo and Hayley didn’t have enough votes to stay in the competition. They were eliminated after the first round.

But after elimination, when they danced again along with their fellow contestants who’d been eliminated throughout the season, they pulled a routine out of a hat that brought the audience to its feet for a standing ovation.

Judge Michael Wentink said if some of the dances were performed earlier in the show, last night’s final would have had a different outcome.

The competition’s runner-up couple, Lalla and Grant, were happy with how far they’d progressed. “It’s sad that we didn’t win, but at the end of the day we gave 200 per cent tonight,” said Grant.

In last week’s episode they were one of the couples in the dance-off.  But last night they danced for the title of champions, albeit with bandages all over their bodies.

“The bandages are what is holding me together,” said Lalla, gorgeous in a Kurt van der Muller lace catsuit despite the visible dressings. “We have spinal cord injuries, shoulder and ligament injuries.  We were literally running on adrenaline during the show.”

Zakeeya and Ryan also sustained some back and leg injuries. But the couple still took risks by doing mind-blowing lifts in the choreography.

So what’s the secret to their chemistry and success as a couple? “We have a great connection and we are both able to be vulnerable with each other,” said Zakeeya.

-Katlego Mkhwanazi

Pictures: Luba Lesolle

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