Strictly’s AJ Pritchard “so honoured” to be making show history

It's going to be a good weekend!

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AJ Pritchard has said he’s “honoured” to be making Strictly Come Dancing history this weekend.

The professional dancer and celebrity partner Lauren Steadman will be the first couple EVER take on a Contemporary Dance in the show.

For their take on new category, Couple’s Choice, on Saturday night they will perform a Contemporary Dance routine to Beyonce and Naughty Boy’s track, Runnin’

AJ took to Instagram to share a snap from rehearsals and tell fans: “I’m so Honoured to be dancing the first ever Contemporary Dance on @bbcstrictly in 16 Series.”

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He went on to say it’s a “privilege” to work with Canadian choreographer Lukas McFarlane, who has previously worked on X Factor and The Voice UK, and dancer and choreographer Amy Tomlinson.

“What a privilege it is to work with @lukasmcfarlane_,” he said.

“I have always admired your emotive performance & unique choreography & @amytomtom . Thank you 🙏🏻, this week is going to be exceptional 🙌🏼😃.. #iconic.”

AJ and Lauren will perform a Contemporary Dance on Saturday (Credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Fans were certainly excited, telling AJ and Lauren they can’t wait to see what they pull out of the bag!

Lukas, meanwhile, shared his own photo from the rehearsal studio to Instagram, saying: “So I’m really excited to say I have been working with these two this week for @bbcstrictly first ever contemporary routine in 16 seasons!!!

“AJ and Lauren, you two are such gems and I can’t wait for everyone to see you guys dancing this!! Would not be getting through this week without @amytomtom beside me, thank you babe!”

Meanwhile, the other pair performing a Couple’s Choice dance this week are Charles Venn and Karen Clifton, who have chosen a Commercial/Street dance-themed routine to James Brown’s Get Up Of That Thing.

Speaking on It Takes Two this week, Karen said she used to do street dancing when she grew up on New York. “It’s very close to my heart,” she added.

Charles said: “I’m very excited. I remember as a school kid having dance offs. I wasn’t that good but it was fun!”

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton
Charles and Karen will perform a Street/Commercial routine (Credit: BBC)

Karen said the training had been “tough” as it’s about getting Charles to relax after weeks of being told to keep his shoulders straight for the more traditional dances.

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Couple’s Choice has been introduced as a new category this year which means, unlike the classic Latin or Ballroom routines, the couples aren’t restricted by certain rules or requirements in their routines.

They can choose from Contemporary, Street/Commercial or Theatre/Jazz. Each of the styles has guidelines but the couples are open to interpret them as they wish.

Strictly continues Saturday at 6.45pm on BBC One.

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