Slap on those sequins and grab that glitter! Strictly Come Dancing’s back and Performer caught up with the show’s youngest twinkle-toed twosome….
The Strictly pro dancers performing the opening dance. Chloe is far left and AJ is next to her, second from left
AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt, both 22, have been dancing together for 10 years. AJ’s parents are dance teachers and ran a studio, which is where he got the performing bug. Chloe started taking lessons at their school when she was seven and got hooked! Since that time, they’ve collected an impressive amount of titles together, including the British and European Youth Latin and Ballroom Championship, and have appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. This year, AJ is partnered up with pop star Mollie King on Strictly, while Chloe is in the group dances and presenting video transmission segments on sister show, It Takes Two.
From left, presenter Tess Daly, celeb dancer Mollie King from The Saturdays and Strictly professional dancer AJ Pritchard
What’s the best thing about doing Strictly?
AJ: “Being with the whole team for the live shows. The live band, live audience, make-up, hair and the costumes are fantastic too. I also love it when my celeb learns a new step, as each new thing is an accomplishment.”
What’s the toughest thing?
AJ: “Being a perfectionist, I always want the dance to be better and I want to do it now, but you only have three days or so to learn a routine and it’s an entertainment show, so sometimes I just need to learn to chill.”
Chloe: “I love the dancing, but I also love presenting as I’m pretty good at talking! It’s something I could see myself pursuing alongside dancing.”
Chloe Hewitt and AJ Pritchard
How do you cope with being celebrities?
Chloe: “It’s weird! It’s important to try to keep your feet on the ground, but I don’t feel like a celebrity anyway – I’m just me.”
Any advice for aspiring young dancers?
AJ: “Keep learning everything you can. Forget about anyone watching and give every dance your all.”
What are you most proud of so far?
Chloe: “Winning the British Open Youth Championship in 2015. It’s like the Oscars of the dancing world.”
AJ: “That competition is the most keenly contested in the dance world and it took place at the home of dance, Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. To lift the trophy in front of family and friends was just amazing.”
What’s your favourite dance?
AJ: “Definitely the Paso Doble. I love the passion and getting into character. The music always sets a scene before you’ve even taken a step.”
Chloe: “You need a passion for it. There are so many opportunities, so never let anyone hold you back, but there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved – it’s not all about pretty dresses!”
Did you ever imagine dancing could lead you here?
Chloe: “Never! I started competing just for fun. Watching Strictly gave me an inkling that there were careers in dance and I remember telling my parents, ‘I want to do that’, but I never dreamed that I would.”
AJ & Chloe are holding an exclusive workshop in London for Stagecoach students on 13 February for ages 12-16. For details and to book, visit our website
Catch Strictly Come Dancing on BBC one Saturdays at 6.45pm.