Five things you might not know about Shirley Ballas

By Guest, 26 July 2018 - 8:39am

Ballroom dancer Shirley Ballas traces her family history on WDYTYA? on 30 July 2018. Here are five things you may not know about the Strictly head judge...

Shirley Ballas Who Do You Think You Are?
Shirley Ballas attends the 2017 Women of the Year Awards Lunch (Credit: Stuart C Wilson/ Getty Images)

Shirley Ballas is one of the most successful ballroom dancers of all time and is best known today as the head judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing.  

Like her predecessor Len Goodman and current co-judge Craig Revel-Horwood, Shirley is now tracing her diverse roots on Who Do You Think You Are?

Here are five things you may not have known about the Merseyside-born star…
 

1. Early start

Although she began ballet aged three, Shirley first started ballroom dancing aged seven. One day, after attending her weekly Girl Guide meeting, she saw a ballroom session taking place in the room next door and was captivated by the sounds of the cha-cha-cha. She enrolled in children's classes the following Saturday and the rest, they say, is history.
 

2. Office work 

After leaving school aged 16, Shirley briefly worked as an office junior at a solicitors' firm, before moving to London to kick-start her dancing career. It didn't work out too badly for her...
 

2. Queen of Latin

As a professional ballroom dancer, Shirley specialised in the International Latin division. She won virtually every major championship throughout the 1980s and 1990s (including the US title a record ten times!), earning her the nickname the ‘Queen of Latin’.
 

4. Across the pond

Before becoming a household name with UK audiences on Strictly, Shirley was a guest on the stateside version of the programme Dancing with the Stars back in 2009.
 

5. Like mother, like son

Shirley’s 32-year-old son, Mark Ballas, is a professional ballroom dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, musician and actor. Based in the US, he has  won Dancing with the Stars on two occasions, forming successful partnerships with Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson.

 

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