Meet Motsi Mabuse, the South African judge on Strictly Come Dancing UK

The South African dancer is making waves in the UK reality contest.

She is sassy, knows the ins and outs of the industry and boy can she dance!

Motsi Mabuse is the new judge on BBC Lifestyle’s Strictly Come Dancing UK, replacing Darcey Bussell, the outgoing judge who starred in the hit dance competition for seven years.

Motsi (38) who grew up in Mabopane, just outside Pretoria, says she is absolutely ‘overjoyed’ to be joining the Strictly judging panel. “She is just beautiful on the inside as well as the outside,” says fellow judge Shirley Ballas, who used to judge Motsi when she was a competitive dancer.

The mother-of-one almost became a lawyer. She studied law at the University of Pretoria but when the dance bug bit, she decided to take her Latin dancing professionally. Motsi made the SA dance world take notice when she became a runner-up in the national championships. This led her to the British Open Championships where she met her first husband and dance partner Timo Kulczak.

Motsi’s life took her to Germany, where she danced professionally on the German version of Strictly, called Let’s Dance and in 2011 she became a judge on that show. And that’s not the only TV competition she’s judged - she’s worked on the German version of Stepping Out and Curvy Supermodel too.

Back home she runs a dance school with her now-husband, dancer Evgenij Voznyuk. Last year they welcomed a baby girl into the world. Motsi says Evgenij will stay in Germany and watch their daughter while she films the show.

On judging her sister Oti, who has been a professional dancer on the show since Season 13, Motsi says there’ll be no preferential treatment: "I'm going to judge her like any other dancer."

When it comes to her judging technique Motsi is looking for an emotional response. “We all want to see and feel what they are feeling when they are dancing and if it doesn’t come through to me then the mission is not achieved.”

Watch the talented judge and dancer work her magic as she scores this season’s celebrities in Strictly Come Dancing UK.

Watch Strictly Come Dancing S17 on Sundays on BBC Brit (120) at 19:00

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