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Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas is the head judge on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing. The British-born Ballroom and Latin dancer, and international coach also talks about her life in dance and achieving success and reaching your goals, delivering her presentation in a fireside chat format.


About Shirley Ballas

Genuine and rather humble, Shirley’s speeches really do resonate with her audiences. She leaves them feeling uplifted and empowered.  The author of Behind the Sequins she offers the readers an incredible insight into her fascinating career.  Shirley also offers advice on how to ignore the naysayers, reinvent yourself when necessary and mental health. Furthermore, she shares her battles with mental health and how she copes.


Shirley Ballas was born in Wallasey in the northwest of England. She was brought up on a council estate by her hardworking mum and protective big brother and knows about hardships.

She fell in love with dancing at the age of seven and it has been her life and passion ever since. The three time ‘British Open to the World’ Latin American Champion, she is also the 10-time US Latin American Champion, and multiple-times British National Champion.  By the time she was 21, Shirley had won nearly every major title she competed in worldwide.

Shirley is the only person to have ever won the British Open to the World Latin American Championships in Blackpool with two different partners. Incredibly she reached the finals an impressive 17 times. And she still remains the youngest ever female to reach the ‘British Open to the World’ Dance Championship finals.

Now Shirley is one of the world’s most respected Ballroom and Latin teachers and adjudicators in the world. Having  lived on both sides of the Atlantic she is now extremely happy to be living in London. Most importantly she is heading up the judge on the BBC’S Strictly Come Dancing. She joined Strictly in 2017

Shirley Ballas on TV 

When she is not judging on Strictly, Shirley delivers masterclasses and commentates on the American series Dancing with the Stars.  She was a frequent panellist on Loose Women. In addition, she discovered a fascinating family back story when she was the subject of BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are? This included learning of her mixed heritage ancestry.

Shirley has also presented a second series of Matchmaker Mountain on ITV’s This Morning and CBBC series Our School Summer Camp. Moreover, she has also appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show, Britain’s Got More Talent, Through the Keyhole and Family Fortunes. Others include the Crystal Maze, Catchphrase, The One Show, Tipping Point: Lucky Stars, The Graham Norton Show and Celebrity Juice.

And 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 March 2019 Shirley was one of nine celebrities who conquered the 5,895m (19,340ft) climb of Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief. She did this in memory of her brother David

2020 has seen Shirley wowing audiences once again on the official Strictly Come Dancing tour. She also fronts her own podcast for Legal & General. And in Oct 2020 saw the release of her autobiography Behind the Sequins.

Speech Topics and Fireside Chats

Many clients like to book Shirley for a fireside style Q&A with an experienced member of staff or a professional interviewer.

Talk content:

Shirley Ballas has spent much of her life winning despite the many negative comments thrown at her since she first started dancing. Aged seven she was bullied because she came from a council estate. She was constantly told she wasn’t good enough, that no one would take her seriously and it would all come to nothing.  However Shirley proved them wrong by winning nearly every major title by the time she was 21. She then had to reinvent herself when she moved to America despite being told she was too old and it was too late.

Ever the Phoenix rising from the ashes she went on to win the British Open to the World Dance championships again with her husband – this time with husband No 2. Today Shirley speaks about how she has overcome the massive hurdles and upheavals in her life which sadly includes her brother David’s tragic death from suicide.  Shirley also offers a wee insight to the life of Strictly Head Judge and how she has had to learn to cope with recognition and keyboard warriors.

Booking Information

Shirley Ballas News

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