The dance

The show dance (sometimes referred to as the freestyle) is the only dance in the series where there are no rules! It is only performed in the series final, and the couples are asked to dance a no holds barred, show stopping routine, incorporating whatever styles of dance they like, and often including a whole variety of lifts and spectacles for the viewers and judges to delight in.

The judges haven't always awarded marks for the show dance. The first series finalists routines were scored, but from series 2 to series 6, the show dances were merely a chance for the finalists to go out with a bang, and perhaps garner favour with those swing voters who hadn't quite made up their mind who to give their vote to! The scoring of the show dance returned from series 7 onwards.

Demonstrations from professional dancers who specialise in show dances (including Hanna Karttunen who was one of the Strictly professionals in the first series) have shown routines to be very heavy on lifts and with an almost gymnastic style of dancing, but the contestants have produced a wide variety of routines in the history of Strictly. Early series saw show dances which reflected the dances the celebrities had learned through the series, followed by a move towards more theatrical and disco themes, and we've even seen some attempts to emulate the professional style.

The best of Strictly

As not all the routines have been marked by the judges, it's often down to personal preference as to which are the best and worst performances so far, so more than any other dance page on this site, this will be the most subjective! There are a couple of showdance routines that stick in my mind more than any others, so these are the two I will single out from the rest and both are from the final of series two. Denise & Ian gave a joyous, exuberant performance to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" while Jill & Darren's routine danced to "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" was a wonderful mixture of latin dances from throughout the series. The added glamour of being performed in the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool made for a fantastic final and two very memorable show dances.

And, in a very close final, the three couples dancing at Blackpool again in the series nine final, gave three very high scoring routines, but with a costume changing, charleston, quickstep, jive combination which suited them perfectly, it was the first perfect 40 of Strictly for a show dance for Jason & Kristina. In the eeries 11 final, Natalie & Artem performed an incredible routine to "Stepping Out With My Baby" with a mix of ballroom, latin, tap and even involved some pole dancing! I'm pretty sure this will stick in the memory for a long time, but I guess only time will tell.

The worst of Strictly

There are two routines that have failed to hit the mark with most fans of the show. The first, and probably most infamous, is the disappointment of "Muppetgate" in series three when Erin chose to prove to the judges how Colin Jackson could dance on his own by using lifesize dolls to allow them to dance a ballroom routine as two separate couples, but unfortunately it was a bit of an anti-climax to a great competition for Colin, and Arlene claimed it was like a show you'd see at the end of a pier. It was quite a while before there would be another show dance to rival it, but when Brendan decided to take inspiration from the professional show dancers for Lisa Snowdon's routine in series six, but it just didn't feel like a Strictly dance and a routine with more familiar content may have suited Lisa better.

Details of all Show Dance performances:


      Judges scores  
Couple Song Week CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Natasha & Brendan (I've Had) The Time Of My Life Series 1 8 9 9 9 35
Christopher & Hanna Fame! Series 1 4 6 7 5 22


SERIES 2 to 6 (no scores awarded)

Couple Song Week
Julian & Erin Take My Breath Away Series 2
Denise & Ian I Wanna Dance With Somebody Series 2
Jill & Darren Can't Take My Eyes Off You Series 2
Zoe & Ian America Series 3
Colin & Erin You're Easy To Dance With Series 3
Darren & Lilia A Night To Remember Series 3
Matt & Lilia Say A Little Prayer Series 4
Mark & Karen Shout Series 4
Matt & Flavia Are You Gonna Go My Way Series 5
Alesha & Matthew Holding Out For A Hero Series 5
Lisa & Brendan I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) Series 6
Rachel & Vincent Flashdance...What A Feeling Series 6
Tom & Camilla If My Friends Could See Me Now Series 6



      Judges scores  
Couple Song Week CraigDarceyLenAleshaBruno Total
Chris & Ola Do You Love Me? Series 7 9 9 9 10 9 46
Ricky & Natalie Last Dance Series 7 10 9 10 10 10 49


SERIES 8 to 9

      Judges scores  
Couple Song Week CraigLenAleshaBruno Total
Matt & Aliona I Like The Way You Move Series 8 7 9 9 9 34
Kara & Artem Don't Stop Me Now Series 8 9 9 9 9 36
Pamela & James (I've Had) The Time Of My Life Series 8 9 9 9 10 37
Harry & Aliona Great Balls Of Fire Series 9 9 9 10 9 37
Jason & Kristina Dancin' Fool Series 9 10 10 10 10 40
Chelsee & Pasha One Night Only Series 9 9 9 9 9 36


SERIES 10 to 14

      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyLenBruno Total
Denise & JamesWhat A FeelingSeries 101010101040
Louis & FlaviaRule The WorldSeries 101010101040
Kimberley & PashaCrazy In LoveSeries 10910101039
Dani & VincentBohemian RhapsodySeries 10899935
Susanna & Kevin Your Song Series 11 9 9 9 9 36
Abbey & Aljaž Sweet Child O' Mine Series 11 9 10 9 10 38
Natalie & Artem Stepping Out With My Baby Series 11 10 10 10 10 40
Sophie & Brendan I Wanna Dance With Somebody Series 11 8 9 9 9 35
Frankie & Kevin Get Happy Series 12 9 9 10 10 38
Mark & Karen Don't Stop Me Now Series 12 8 9 9 9 35
Caroline & Pasha Angels Series 12 10 10 10 10 40
Simon & Kristina A Little Less Conversation Series 12 9 10 10 10 39
Jay & Aliona Can't Feel My Face Series 13 8 9 9 9 35
Georgia & Giovanni Fix You Series 13 9 9 9 9 36
Kellie & Kevin The Ding-Dong Daddy Of The D-Car Line Series 13 10 10 10 10 40
Katie & Anton O Fortuna Series 13 7 8 8 8 31
Ore & JoanneI Got RhythmSeries 141010101040
Louise & KevinOne Moment In TimeSeries 1499101038
Danny & OtiSet Fire To The RainSeries 141010101040



      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyShirleyBruno Total
Alexandra & GorkaThere's No Business Like Show BusinessSeries 15910101039
Debbie & GiovanniOne Day I'll Fly AwaySeries 1599101038
Gemma & AljažShow Me How You BurlesqueSeries 1589101037
Joe & KatyaYou Make My DreamsSeries 15910101039
Ashley & PashaKeeping Your Head UpSeries 161010101040
Stacey & KevinLand of 1000 DancesSeries 168991036
Faye & GiovanniLullaby of BroadwaySeries 161010101040
Joe & DianneI Bet You Look Good On The DancefloorSeries 16910101039


      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigMotsiShirleyBruno Total
Series 17

Series 5 - Alesha & Matt


Series 5 - Matt & Flavia


Series 6 - Tom & Camilla


Series 10 - Kimberley & Pasha