Strictly has produced numerous iconic and memorable dances over the years, as well as many that we forget as soon as they finish and those dances we wish we could erase from our memories!
But what are the best dances from over the years? I’ve done the tricky task of reminding myself of some classic performances to create my list of the top 25. Most of my choices were easy as I still watch them back years later, but I have had to make some tricky decisions! Mainly to not fill the top 10 places with Danny and Oti.
Some notes before I get slated for my countdown of my favourite Strictly Come Dancing performances.
- I only started watching Strictly in 2012, so all the dances in this list are from Series 10 onwards.
- I love Jives, Charlestons and Quicksteps, and I’m a sucker for classic/traditional music, so be warned that they dominate my list!
- Danny and Oti were my all-time favourite Strictly pairing and they fill up several spaces on this list (even after I left out some of their dances!)
Ready? Let’s get started!
25. Kimberley and Pasha Viennese Waltz
I don’t find slow dances like the Viennese Waltz very memorable, although I do enjoy them when I watch them. However, I do remember this dance for being very beautiful and for somehow landing Kimberley in the bottom 2 that week!
24. Anita and Gleb Rumba
This may not be the most technically perfect Rumba. I’m not even sure how much Rumba is actually in the dance. But I love it anyway! It stays in my mind because of the emotion, the connection between the two dancers, and for being a totally immersive dance (helped by some excellent music). There’s been better Rumbas, but when you connect to a dance the technique matters less!
Loved lots of Anita and Gleb’s dances that year- such an underrated couple.
23. Louis and Flavia Showdance
When you’ve got the strength of an Olympic gymnast you’ve got to show off your assets (ahem). And that’s exactly what Louis did in his Showdance, by doing things none of the other finalists could even attempt. This was the first year I properly watched Strictly and I was blown away by this performance for the spellbinding combination of strength and dance.
22. Caroline and Pasha Showdance
Before Couple’s Choice
ruined everything was introduced, contemporary-style dances were reserved for Showdances and, when danced well, were a real treat. Caroline’s was one of these great dances and the emotion carried straight through the screen. It’s got extra poignancy now, after her death, and it will always stay with me as one of the most memorable Strictly dances.
21. Kimberley and Pasha Charleston
Kimberley again with another epic dance. Fantastic music, great swivel, and brimming with energy, this Charleston is one of my all-time favourites! Special shout out to the cartwheels which were incredible!
20. Denise and James Jive/Quickstep Fusion
I wasn’t a massive fan of fusion week but this dance was fab. Combining Quickstep and Jive- two of my favourite dances (and two dances that actually work together)- to create a routine to one of my favourite songs was always going to be a winner. Even with the little mishap halfway through, this is such a joyful and entertaining dance!
19. Simon and Kristina Argentine Tango
The drama. The passion. The intensity. Argentine Tango isn’t always great on Strictly, but Simon and Kristina created a memorable and absorbing performance that is definitely one of the best we’ve seen on the show!
18. Alexandra and Gorka American Smooth
Alexandra did so many amazing dances which aren’t listed, including Charleston, Quickstep, Paso Doble, and many more, but my favourite of hers was the American Smooth. It was a calmer dance among her more energetic and frantic numbers, and she was really able to show off her skills as a dancer. It was just an overall charming dance that I loved watching!
17. Kimberley and Pasha Cha Cha/Tango Fusion
Another fusion, but on paper this one shouldn’t have worked. Tango and Cha Cha to It’s Raining Men doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. But it turned out to be incredible and a totally amazing dance! Credit to Pasha and Kimberley for not only making it work, but for making it such success and a joy to watch!
16. Aston and Janette Paso Doble
Now, I love a traditional Spanish Paso. But Aston’s Paso Doble took a different approach and managed to work wonderfully! We got the technique and feel of a Paso, and the song and Halloween theming surprisingly complemented it really well. Aston was great and this Paso has stayed with me as one of my favourite dances I’ve seen on Strictly.
By the way, Aston deserved to get SO much further- he left way too soon!
15. Jay and Aliona Jive
The iconic Jay’s Jive just had to make the list. Whether you think it was over-hyped or not, you cannot deny it created a real “Strictly moment”. Everything combined perfectly- the song, the costumes/theming, and the dance style, and the atmosphere was electric even sat at home watching on the TV. Also, Jay was actually born to jive- just look at how cool he is throughout, despite the difficult choreography, and how his legs flick so quick!
14. Caroline and Pasha Charleston
Around the World Week- a one-off theme that didn’t really work. But its one saving grace is this epic Charleston from Caroline. Danced with so much joy and energy, you can’t help but smile whenever you watch it.
13. Kelvin and Oti Rumba
I think you only need one word to describe Kelvin and Oti’s Rumba. HOT.
12. Faye and Giovanni Charleston
Some people were a bit weirded out by the whole marionette costume/theming which I can understand. However, I LOVED this dance, helped by the fact I love this song. The choreography was complex and Faye managed to make it look easy. She made it seem so easy I tried to copy parts of the dance and…safe to say it was not so easy.
11. Kelvin and Oti Jive
Blackpool came alive when Kelvin and Oti took to the Strictly floor. Kelvin got the vibe and feel of the dance exactly right (and Jailhouse Rock is a perfect song to Jive to). The technique maybe wasn’t flawless, but the performance was outstanding and certainly memorable! Also those jumping press ups… wow.
10. Danny and Oti Charleston
The first of several Danny Mac dances on this list, and really I could have listed all of his performances. However, out of all his incredible dances, this Charleston is definitely up there with my favourites! Great song, tricky choreography, and Danny fits right in with the other professional dancers. It was a cool and sophisticated Charleston that fully deserved its 40/40 score!
9. Danny and Oti American Smooth
A slower pace for Danny and Oti and it just highlighted how incredible they were. Both in hold and out of hold they were truly fantastic, and created a beautiful dance. Also, that jump at the end was the dramatic climax we didn’t know we needed!
8. Faye and Giovanni Showdance
If I was ever on Strictly (in my dreams) this is the kind of Showdance I would want to do. Faye and Giovanni went for a classic Hollywood feel and it was so sophisticated and cool! They made the whole thing look effortless and spontaneous, even though they would have spent hours rehearsing it. I loved it when it went dark and they danced in the spotlights; it made the dance a bit different and even more of a joy to watch!
7. Kelvin and Oti Showdance
This is how you do a Showdance! When couples say their Showdance will be a selection of their ‘greatest hits’ from previous dances, I die a little inside because I don’t think it ever works that well. Kelvin and Oti proved me wrong! They had super fast-paced Jive in there, Charleston, parts in hold, a Tango section, and even some jumping press ups! But for me the best bit was the change in pace when the song went slower and they did a jazzy/soul section which was in contrast to the rest of the dance. I actually think I screamed a little at how good this was when I first saw it! This dance will never get old or boring- just incredible.
6. Danny and Oti Samba
Like Jay’s Jive, Danny’s Samba was a real “Strictly moment” where everything came together. The theme, song, and incredible dance just made the atmosphere electric and the studio was going crazy! Danny and Oti just let loose and seemed to be having the best time on stage, forgetting they were even being watched. To my untrained eyes the Samba technique looked great, and it is deservedly the only Samba so far to ever get a perfect score!
Special mention to Oti’s AMAZING outfit. So beautiful and I am so jealous.
5. Danny and Oti Paso Doble
I think the Paso Doble is one of Danny and Oti’s more forgotten dances but I LOVE it. There’s drama and intensity throughout and Danny, as always, danced it wonderfully.
Special mention to every single one of Oti’s Paso Dobles as I’ve loved them all, all because of her amazing choreography!
4. Karim and Amy Jive
I loved Karim and Amy’s Jive first time around in Musicals Week, but in this ranking I’m specifically referring to their repeat of the dance in the final without the backing dancers. Dancing alone, we could really appreciate Amy and Karim’s dancing which was mind-blowingly good! Of course, it’s a brilliant, iconic song that they’re dancing to, but they more than did it justice. Technically (to my untrained eyes), I think it is one of the best dances ever on Strictly and I could watch it over and over again!
Special mention to Karim and Amy’s Tango which I also love.
3. Claudia and AJ Charleston
Casual reminder that this was WEEK THREE! Claudia and AJ’s Charleston is one of my all-time favourite dances that I still watch regularly four years later. It was a great song choice with great choreography, and Claudia danced it flawlessly!
2. Danny and Oti Quickstep
I love a Quickstep, and Danny and Oti did a pure, classic Quickstep that I immediately fell in love with. With a fitting song and stunning outfits, this dance was wonderful from start to finish. Len moaned a bit about too much faffing around at the start I think, which is unfair as they spent the rest of the dance in hold! They spent longer in continuous hold than most people in Strictly do in total!
Am I over the fact they messed this dance up in the final. No I am not. *sobs*
1. Claudia and AJ Quickstep
Coming in at number one is, surprise surprise, another Quickstep! It was so hard to choose between Danny and Oti and Claudia and AJ, but I loved this dance. I felt it was the first dance since the Charleston that really clicked with Claudia and AJ and they just whizzed around the floor to a great song having a great time! They were in hold for most of it, which is what I want from a Quickstep, and the choreography also seemed quite difficult. Great song choice, lovely outfits, and an outstanding dance which just makes you smile when you watch it!
Special mention to all of AJ’s Quicksteps and lots of his ballroom dances as they’ve had great choreography with plenty of the dances in hold.
So, do you agree with my list? What are your favourite Strictly dances? What great dances did I miss from the early days?