02/10/2020 09:31 BST

Shirley Ballas Tells Strictly Come Dancing Fans To Keen An 'Open Mind' Ahead Of Same-Sex Pairing

The head judge even pointed out that she'd been partnered with a woman when she was first learning to dance.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has urged viewers to keep an “open mind” ahead of the show’s first same-sex pairing being introduced.

This year’s line-up was confirmed last month, with Olympic boxer Nicola Adamsbeing partnered with a female professional dancer in what will be a first for the show.

Asked for her thoughts on the upcoming partnership, Shirley – who has long called for Strictly to introduce a same-sex pairing – said she was “excited” to see Nicola on the dance floor, telling viewers to remain open-minded.

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Shirley Ballas

“I would really urge the viewers to look with an open mind,” Shirley told The One Show on Thursday evening.

“Remember… two men have danced together for years, on Broadway, in different shows, and two women – I had a girl partner myself. It’s movement to music with great technique, it doesn’t have [to be a man and a woman].”

When presenters Alex Jones and Chris Ramsey questioned how the choreography will be two different when performed by two women, Shirley explained: “That will be down to the professional herself.

“You know, because you can shadow, you can side-by-side dance, you can opposite dance, there are many different ways that you can pursue your thought in dancing.

“So it’ll be up to the creativity of the young lady that gets to dance with Nicola. I think it will be absolutely fabulous.”

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Nicola Adams

While many Strictly fans have voiced their joy at finally getting to see two women dance together on the show, others were seemingly less enthused, with some even complaining to the BBC before the new series had even started.

The corporation stood their ground, though, with a spokesperson insisting: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same-sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.

“We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same-sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.

“Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate.”

Strictly 2020 will launch on 17 October, with the first live show airing a week later. The One Show airs every weeknight at 7pm.