Strictly Come Dancing is quickly becoming one of the most inclusive shows to grace our television screens. The show has seen the likes of comedians, musicians, Paralympians, same-sex couples and even politicians, proving that no shape, size, age, or disability will get in the way of the language of love – dance!
This year, the famous glitter ball spins into action for the 19th series, with pro-dancer Giovanni Pernice and his partner, former EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, set to be a favourite. The Strictly Come Dancing odds are firmly in their favour, despite rumours that the pair have fallen victim to the Strictly Curse – developing a romantic relationship whilst spending so much time rehearsing, and getting physically close. Rose’s boyfriend, however, has been extremely supportive of her involvement in the show, appearing in the audience across several weeks.
All in all, the pair have definitely played a vital part in revolutionising the diversity of the show.
Love is an Open Door
Week nine was “musical week” and saw the couple say “I do” in sign language to Love is an Open Door from the musical Frozen. Strictly’s take on this song arguably left a little to be desired, with some fans taking to Twitter to ask:
“Who’s trying to sabotage Rose and Giovanni with this song?”
However, others were in awe over Giovanni’s incredible efforts to choreograph a quickstep to the track, as well as Rose’s unique ability to stay in time. She has previously explained that she uses the beat of the music, as well as counting to stay in time, and audiences are asked not to clap during their performances so Rose can concentrate.
It’s fair to say the nation are impressed with the show’s inclusivity, though, with one viewer tweeting:
“I love that Rose and Gio did all the speaking part in sign language.”
Perhaps this explains the questionable song choice!
Ten seconds of silence
The pivotal point for the couple, however, was during week eight, where the due danced a revolutionary routine that was said to have brought many viewers to tears. Their beautiful contemporary routine to the song Symphony, by Clean Bandit (featuring Zara Larsson), went silent for a whole ten seconds, whilst they continued to dance, to honour the struggles of the deaf actress – raising awareness for the entire deaf community.
The Strictly Come Dancing tips state that Rose Ayling-Ellis might just be in a league of her own, with Giovanni admitting that even he struggled with the silence.
He later revealed on This Morning:
“I am a professional dancer who has been doing this for 23 years, but even ten seconds of silence was so hard”
The contemporary piece saw Rose wear an exquisite dress that fell gracefully around her as she moved. The moment of complete silence honored the entire deaf community – something that’s never been done on Strictly before – with guest judge Cynthia Erivo praising the couple, using sign language herself.
Following the breathtaking piece, Giovanni whispered “I love you” to Rose, later going on to praise his partner by saying:
“A moment that will remain forever in my heart. You really are a role model!”
Many viewers agree – deeming Rose a role model, being inspired to learn sign language, and are continuously impressed by her talents. It’s fair to say the duo have taught each other a lot, and it’s clear that they’re becoming closer and closer. Giovanni and Rose continue to capture the hearts of the nation, making history as the first couple to score the highest score of 40 so early in the competition, and as the first deaf contestant ever to grace the dance floor.