First same-sex dance couples for Strictly Inverness 2024
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The 13th edition of an annual charity dance contest is set to make history with its first same-sex dance couples.
Three of the 16 partnerships for Strictly Inverness 2024 will be female-only duos.
It reflected the popularity of the event among female applicants, as the 32 dancers were put into pairs at an event in Loch Ness Country House Hotel last night.
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The annual event generates cash for the Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre, which organise and host the event.
Last year's extravaganza raised a staggering total of £250,000 for the charities.
Many participants met each other for the first time last night, with an atmosphere of excitement and nerves.
They were shown some moves by dance tutors involved in the competition in May 2024.
The group will be split into two with each competing in eight-couple semi-finals, with the top four in each reaching the final on May 11, with Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice set to join the judging panel.
Starting next month, each couple will learn two dances, plus a group dance.
They will perform in front of audiences of around 600 people at the ice centre.
Hospice fundraiser Carrie Macdonald said: “It was lovely seeing all our 2024 stars of Strictly Inverness together in one room, as they found out who their dance partners will be.
“Despite a few nerves, everyone did really well and are looking amazing together. It’s exciting to have same-sex couples for the first time – that will really shake things up!
“Massive thanks and well done to our tutors Suzanne Innes and Cristina Mulet-Gálvez for pairing everyone so well.”
Among the dancers is The Inverness Courier's content editor Andy Dixon. There is also prolific hospice fundraiser Sean MacIver who performed as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury at the Ness Factor contest in October – Inverness's answer to The X Factor – which raised £86,000 for the charity.
Previous celebrity guest judges for the Saturday final have been Anton du Beke, Flavia Cacace-Mistry and last year, Aljaz Scorjanec and Janette Manrana.