Strictly Come Dancing’s Giovanni Pernice denies claims of ‘abusive’ teaching methods

Strictly Come Dancing’s Giovanni Pernice denies claims of ‘abusive’ teaching methods

Giovanni Pernice has made a statement addressing the allegations surrounding his teaching methods on Strictly Come Dancing.

There has been speculation over the professional dancer’s behaviour since Sherlock star Amanda Abbington requested “tense footage” of her rehearsals with the pro after she unexpectedly quit the show in 2023.

Writing in a post on Instagram, Pernice said on Sunday (19 May) that he denies all claims of “abusive or threatening behaviour” and is looking forward to proving his innocence.

Addressing his fans, the dancer wrote: “You will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week.”

The Strictly star described himself as “passionate”, “competitive” and “ambitious”, but rejected the insinuation that his behaviour had ever become “abusive”.

“I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be,” he said of his celebrity dance partners.

“This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win – for me and my dance partners,” Pernice concluded, thanking his fans for their “continued love and support”.

While the 33-year-old has denied any claims of wrongdoing, it was alleged earlier this year that the Italian dancer had caused difficulties with two other former celebrity partners during their time on the show.

Reports claimed that Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh and former Love Island host Laura Whitmore, who previously said she was “uncomfortable” with Pernice, had a “tearful summit” with Abbington about their respective “difficult experiences” with the dancer, “who is well known to be intense during training”.

Despite the criticism of the dancer’s training methods, no formal complaint appears to have been filed with the BBC.

On Thursday (16 May), it was reported by The Sun that Pernice has officially quit the show. An internal memo listing this year’s professional dancers was allegedly circulated at the BBC without the Italian performer’s name on it.

A source told the publication: “He wants to focus on other TV projects, and feels he’s achieved all he can on Strictly, having won the trophy back in 2021 and reaching the final an unprecedented four times.”

Upon request for comment, the BBC told The Independent: “The Professional Dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 will be announced in due course.” Professional dancers are typically confirmed a month before the show begins in September, with the programme line-up announced in August.

The Independent has also contacted Pernice for comment.

Laura Whitmore has said she was ‘extremely uncomfortable’ with Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly’ (BBC)
Laura Whitmore has said she was ‘extremely uncomfortable’ with Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly’ (BBC)

The BBC had reporetedly been “very keen” to keep Pernice, who has been a part of the show since joining in 2015. Last month, it was reported that his future on the programme was assured, although the BBC neither confirmed nor denied the news. The broadcaster appeared to be in “tense talks” with the dancer in a bid to keep him.

Amid the ongoing controversy, Pernice has been supported not only by fans but also one of his former celebrity Strictly partners, Debbie McGee.

Pernice previously defended his ‘Strictly’ training style on ‘The One Show (BBC)
Pernice previously defended his ‘Strictly’ training style on ‘The One Show (BBC)

Speaking on The Mirror’s Invite Only podcast in March, Pernice said: “It was a shame that [Abbington] had to leave for medical reasons because I think, in my opinion, we could have gone all the way.”

Pernice said his reputation as a “perfectionist” comes from “caring” about the celebrity he’s partnered with, stating: “In every single part of the world, if [you’re] a professional dancer, we have to get these people on the Saturday night looking the best as they can.”

A release date for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 is yet to be announced. As per the terms and conditions: “The recording of the Strictly Come Dancing launch show will take place in September 2024 – exact date to be confirmed.”