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Five new pro dancers join revamped series of Dancing With The Stars

The show returns to RTE in January.
Clodagh Meaney

The professional dance partners for the 12 celebrities taking part in 2022’s Dancing With The Stars have been revealed.

Among the line-up for the series, which returns on January 9th to RTÉ One at 6.30 pm, are five new professionals.

Five new pro-dancers Hannah Kelly, Ervinas Merfeldas, Salome Chachua, Denys Samson, and Maurizio Benenato will join returning dancers Pasquale La Rocca, Karen Byrne, John Nolan, Emily Barker, Laura Nolan, Kylee Vincent, and Steven Vincent.

Hannah Kelly from Co. Dublin and has been dancing since the age of three. By the age of six, Hannah started training in Ballroom and Latin.

Throughout her career so far, she has been Irish Latin champion in all age categories and has represented Ireland all over the world. Hannah currently teaches alongside former-DWTS champ, John Nolan in Xquiste Dance.

"I'm absolutely loving being part of Dancing with the Stars,” she said of joining the show.

“I'm so young myself, that I feel I'm learning so much from everyone else around me too. I have a versatile background from ballroom to Latin, but I also love hip-hop too so I feel that I can bring some freshness and youth to the show this year."

Meanwhile, Ervinas Merfeldas from Celbridge, Co. Kildare, and has been dancing since the age of six.

Ervinas has been dancing competitively for the best part of a decade. He is an All-Ireland champion Latin dancer and has represented Ireland in competitions in countries including China, Russia, Austria, the Netherlands, and Italy.

“I am so excited to be part of the show. Dancing has been a huge part of my life and to be able to show it off on the main stage, I honestly can’t wait for it”

Italian-born dancer Maurizio Benenato started age five doing Ballroom and Latin American styles of dance.

At seventeen he became a bronze medallist at the World 10 Dance Championships. By the age of 21, he was the World 10 Dance Cup and European 10 Dance Cup Champion.

More recently, Maurizio has toured and performed with a production of Burn the Floor and Riverdance’s Heart Beat of Home across Europe.

“I was so happy to be asked to join Dancing with the Stars. I think I will even feel that even more so at the end of it,” he said.

“Rehearsals are going great and I'm learning things from my partner too. For me, this is my first year here on Dancing with the Stars, but if I'm honest, I really feel as I've been here before because it's a great atmosphere. I'm also enjoying being in Dublin so I can't ask for more."

Georgian pro-dancer and choreographer Salome Chachua is a champion in her home country, specialising in the Latin discipline.

Salome has previously appeared on five seasons of the Georgian version of Dancing with the Stars and was a judge on the Georgian version of the dance competition show, So You Think You Can Dance.

"I'm so excited to be on Ireland's version of Dancing with the Stars, it's a great opportunity to give the audience unforgettable dance shows with my amazing partner.”

“Our rehearsals are going just great, it's lots of hard work and we're having fun at the same time."

Two-time 10 Dance World Champion Ukrainian Denys Samson is also a two-time champion in his home country, as well as a Blackpool festival European Championship finalist.

No stranger to Dancing with the Stars, earlier this year, Denys took part in the Ukrainian version of the show as a professional dancer.

“I’m super excited to be part of Dancing with the Stars here in Ireland. I’m fresh, I’m new and I’ve come all the way from Ukraine to be part of this amazing show, and of course, I would love to win!”

“We are working really hard in training but also having lots of fun, I can’t wait until January to show you what we have in store. I’m really looking forward to this journey with my partner,” he added.

The professional dancers and their celebrity partners are set to be revealed in January.

Presented once again by Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne, the new series features judges Brian Redmond, Loraine Barry, and newcomer Arthur Gourounlian.

They will be joined by the stars of the show, the celebrity dancers.

Gráinne Seoige, Aengus Mac Grianna, Ellen Keane and Neil Delamare were the first four dancers to be revealed.

Meanwhile Erica Cody, Missy Keating, Nicolas Roche, Nina Carberry, Billy McGuinness, Cathy Kelly, Jordan Conroy, and Matthew Mac Nabb will also take part.

Dancing with the Stars returns to RTÉ One at 6.30 pm on Sunday, January 9th.

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