Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas


Shirley Ballas is a champion ballroom dancer, world-renowned dance teacher and adjudicator, best-selling author, and the head judge of BBC1’s flagship show Strictly Come Dancing.

Originally from Wallasey, Shirley has been dancing since the age of seven. She is three-time British Open to the World Latin American champion, ten-time United States Latin American champion, and multiple-time British National champion. By 21, Shirley had won nearly every major title she competed in worldwide. She is the only person to have ever won the British Open to the World Latin American Championships in Blackpool with two different partners, and reached the finals an impressive 17 times. She still remains the youngest ever female to reach the British Open to the World Dance Championship finals. Shirley has been the recipient of three Carl Alan Awards (the Oscars of the world of dance), Teacher of the Year Award, The Variety Club Legends of Industry Award, and has been inducted into both the United States and Great Britain Dance Hall of Fame.

In addition to her role on Strictly, Shirley has been seen giving masterclasses and commentating on the American series Dancing with the Stars, is a frequent panellist on Loose Women, and was the subject of BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are? She presented two series of the popular This Morning feature Matchmaker Mountain for ITV and fronted the CBBC series Our School Summer Camp. Shirley’s numerous other appearances include The Jonathan Ross Show, Britain’s Got More Talent, Through the Keyhole, Crystal Maze, Catchphrase, Blankety Blank, The One Show, Tipping Point: Lucky Stars, Would I Lie to You?, The Graham Norton Show and Celebrity Juice, amongst many others. Further to this, Shirley was asked to lend her voice to the Puss in Boots story for the CBeebies channel in collaboration with
Northern Ballet, and presented a Friday Night Is Music Night special for BBC Radio 2.

In 2019, Shirley was one of nine celebrities selected for BBC1’s Kilimanjaro: The Return, where they climbed the 5,895 metre mountain to raise funds for Comic Relief supported projects in the UK and internationally. Shirley is also an Ambassador for the charities Macmillan Cancer Support, CALM, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Suicide&Co and Centrepoint.

Shirley’s sensational biography Behind The Sequins was released in 2020 to critical acclaim, immediately becoming an Amazon best-seller. Following the success of the book Shirley secured a two-book deal with HarperCollins to publish The Sequin Mysteries, a duo of cosy crime novels that waltz through the glittering and highly competitive world of ballroom dance. The first book in the series, Murder on the Dance Floor, was released in October last year and became a Christmas best- seller.

Whilst Shirley continues in her role as head judge on the biggest show on British television, she has also proved herself to be one of the country’s most versatile and much-loved personalities. She has fronted her own podcast, co-hosted BBC1’s Morning Live, presented on BBC Radio 2, appeared on Celebrity Sewing Bee, competed on ITV’s Cooking With The Stars, taken part in the documentary Womanhood and appeared in BBC1’s Unbreakable. Earlier this year Shirley surprised and delighted television audiences when she was revealed as Rat in the
hugely popular ITV series The Masked Singer. She has also performed in her own stage show An Audience with Shirley Ballas and continues to delight audiences up and down the country appearing each year in Strictly Come Dancing Live!