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Strictly stars Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin open up on 'hard' week adapting waltz

Metro logo Metro 29/09/2022 Emily Bashforth

Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin impressed the Strictly Come Dancing judges with their cha cha cha in week one, but now it’s time for a change of pace.

The Paralympian and her professional partner scored a very respectable 26 with their glitzy performance to DANCE by DNCE, but they’re set to take on the waltz for their second stint on the ballroom floor.

Ellie, who has dwarfism, and Nikita have been open about adapting their routines, and the gold medallist said she’s ‘enjoying every second’ of life on Strictly.

However, training for their second dance has been ‘challenging,’ with Ukrainian choreographer Nikita admitting it’s been ‘a really, really hard week.’

‘I’m not gonna lie, this was a really, really hard week. Really hard week at the beginning,’ he told Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on Thursday’s This Morning.

‘But, I can say proudly that I got Ellie to smile yesterday evening, that was a good result, when she finally started smiling and enjoying it,’ he added.

Ellie and Nikita admitted it’s been a ‘really hard week’ in training (Picture: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock) © Provided by Metro Ellie and Nikita admitted it’s been a ‘really hard week’ in training (Picture: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock) The pair are still enjoying every moment of the Strictly journey together (Picture: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock) © Provided by Metro The pair are still enjoying every moment of the Strictly journey together (Picture: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock)

‘I just couldn’t get it,’ Ellie chimed in. ‘Monday, Tuesday, I kept seeing you [Nikita] doing it and I was trying to do it and I would get one move, then I couldn’t remember the next move.’

After Ellie said she would get ‘frustrated’ with herself in rehearsals, Nikita explained how every routine is a ‘new technique’ so that doesn’t necessarily mean mastering one will make the next any easier.

‘Everything is always new. The good thing is about the [ballroom] hold, once we learn it then we know at least what we’re going into,’ he added.

Ellie and Nikita face a different challenge this week as they take on the waltz (Picture: PA) © Provided by Metro Ellie and Nikita face a different challenge this week as they take on the waltz (Picture: PA)

‘Honestly, on Sunday evening, the day before we started training for this dance, even I didn’t know where it was going to go.

‘So, this was something completely outside the box for me.’

The swimmer and her partner will be hoping for another successful week this week, especially as the first Strictly elimination of 2022 looms.

But, the most important thing, besides the fact that she’s loving the journey, is how she’s inspiring viewers at home.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 is well underway! (Picture: BBC/Ray Burmiston) © Provided by Metro Strictly Come Dancing 2022 is well underway! (Picture: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Ellie, who has achondroplasia dwarfism which causes a normal-sized torso and short limbs, said she was nervous to sign up for the show due to what keyboard warriors might say.

‘I’ve had it already. Some people have said, “How’s the dwarf going to dance?” It’s sad and it does get to you,’ she told The Sun.

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It was her boyfriend, Matt Dean, who encouraged her to take part in the show, with fellow stars including Matt Goss, Helen Skelton, Kym Marsh, and Will Mello also part of the series 20 cast.

It was Will and his partner Nancy Xu, along with cameraman Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal, who topped the leaderboard with a mega 34 points last week, but will they be able to keep it up when the stakes rise in week two? Time will tell…

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday and Sunday.

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