Sun. Jul 14th, 2024
alert-–-i-was-taught-to-dance-by-giovanni-pernice-and-this-is-what-he’s-really-like:-as-strictly-star-is-accused-of-‘threatening-and-abusive’-behaviour-here’s-how-he-acted-when-the-cameras-weren’t-rolling….Alert – I was taught to dance by Giovanni Pernice and this is what he’s REALLY like: As Strictly star is accused of ‘threatening and abusive’ behaviour here’s how he acted when the cameras weren’t rolling….

It’s the biggest scandal to hit the dance world since JoJo Siwa’s lesbian romp video. 

In one corner, we have Giovanni Pernice, Strictly heartthrob and four-time show finalist. In the other, Sherlock star and Critics’ Choice Awards nominee, Amanda Abbington. 

When they were paired up on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing, Amanda abruptly quit the competition, claiming she had been left with PTSD amid reports the duo clashed in rehearsals. 

With both sides seemingly adamant they had done nothing wrong, the BBC then launched a workplace misconduct probe into the dancer’s behaviour and consequently Giovanni quit the show. 

Yet while Giovanni’s conduct is under investigation he has remained teaching, hosting regular workshops for the public through his Ballando dance school. 

Therefore, intrigued by the ongoing drama and a self-confessed Strictly superfan, it wasn’t a hard decision then for me to go and give a class a go. 

As Strictly star Giovanni Pernice is under investigation for 'workplace misconduct'  attended a dance class thrown by the star on Sunday (pictured at the event)

As Strictly star Giovanni Pernice is under investigation for ‘workplace misconduct’ attended a dance class thrown by the star on Sunday (pictured at the event) 

The professional dancer, 33, is at the centre of a bullying row after claims made of misconduct by his Strictly partner Amanda Abbington (pictured) and two other women

The professional dancer, 33, is at the centre of a bullying row after claims made of misconduct by his Strictly partner Amanda Abbington (pictured) and two other women

So it came to be I found myself joining hoardes of others who no doubt had the same question – would we buckle under the pressure of Giovanni’s controversial teaching style? 

With Giovanni accused of having a ‘militant and aggressive’ approach to training, I’ll admit I was a little nervous on what to expect. 

In order to ease myself in for the main event, I had booked in for a bumper day of dance classes, being taught the Jive by Shirley Ballas, the Quickstep by Anton Du Beke and finally the Cha Cha Cha by the man himself, Giovanni. 

It was a popular and sold out event, with queues stretching around the block while we waited to register and enter he studio.

While Giovanni’s was the last class of the day, it was clearly him that people had turned out to see. 

The queue was abuzz with Strictly fans speculating on what he’d be like, with one group of women intrigued to see how he would seem amid the scandal. 

They had travelled all the way from Wales for the dance class, and were no strangers to the event, having attended several classes before. 

This was seemingly the first one since Giovanni’s scandal, however, as they discussed how ‘awful’ the situation was and expressed their sympathies for the under-fire dancer. 

Unsurprisingly, the entire class seemed to be pro-Giovanni, erupting into cheers and applause whenever he’d step out onto the stage. 

He kept a watchful eye over proceedings before his time to teach, sitting at the back of the room with Shirley’s mother Audrey as the head judge taught a Jive. 

Strictly judges Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke showed their support for Giovanni Pernice at his dance workshop on Sunday (pictured)

Strictly judges Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke showed their support for Giovanni Pernice at his dance workshop on Sunday (pictured) 

While Giovanni's conduct is under investigation he has remained teaching, hosting regular workshops for the public through his Ballando dance school

While Giovanni’s conduct is under investigation he has remained teaching, hosting regular workshops for the public through his Ballando dance school

As we all found a spot on the dancefloor I was beginning to feel more confident. 

While there were a few participants who looked like they’d come waltzing in from Pineapple Dance Studios, the majority of the crowd were ordinary, middle-aged women, surely I would be able to keep up? 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. 

Under Giovanni’s watchful eye I managed to mess up nearly all the steps, left in pure amazement at how Shirley made such complicated material look so effortless.  

I can only assume this wonderment showed on my face, as when I locked eyes with Giovanni having completely butchered Shirley’s Jive choreography, he couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle. 

Thankfully, the hour-long masterclass soon came to an end and I was able to catch my breath while Shirley and Giovanni chatted on the stage.  

While it’s been claimed that BBC bosses have banned the cast from discussing the  ‘bullying row’, Shirley couldn’t help but hint at the recent turmoil as she expressed her support for Gio. 

She told the dancers it was an ‘honour and a privilege’ to be at the workshop with Giovanni, 33, adding: ‘I’ve known him for 10 years and we’re good friends…’ 

Offering a ‘huge thank you’ to the Italian professional for having her at his workshop, Shirley continued: ‘I will be one person who will be by his side forever. What you see is what you get with him.’ 

The Queen of Latin went on to share a story about Giovanni’s caring side, revealing that when her mother Audrey battled cancer, Giovanni was a source of comfort who remained by her side. 

Also attending the event was Anton Du Beke, 57 – who has been performing with the star on their Together tour. 

Hopping onto the stage to teach a Quickstep, the longest serving Strictly professional wasted no time showing how much he cared for Giovanni, wrapping him up in a huge bear hug and calling him his ‘best friend.’ 

Anton was less technical in his teaching style than Shirley, focusing more on the entertainment value and having the crowds in hysterics as they practised. 

However, the pair were exactly how I’d managed them to be, the same as the smiley professionals I’ve watched on Saturday nights for years. 

So with Shirley and Anton living up to, if not, exceeding my expectations, there was only Giovanni left to experience. 

Shirley told the crowd it was an 'honour and a privilege' to be at the workshop with Giovanni, 33, adding: 'I’ve known him for 10 years and we’re good friends...' (pictured outside the event)

Shirley told the crowd it was an ‘honour and a privilege’ to be at the workshop with Giovanni, 33, adding: ‘I’ve known him for 10 years and we’re good friends…’ (pictured outside the event)

The Queen of Latin went on to share a story about Giovanni's caring side, revealing that when her mother Audrey (left) battled cancer , Giovanni was a source of comfort for her

The Queen of Latin went on to share a story about Giovanni’s caring side, revealing that when her mother Audrey (left) battled cancer , Giovanni was a source of comfort for her

Also attending the event was Anton Du Beke, 57 - who has been performing with the star on their Together tour

Also attending the event was Anton Du Beke, 57 – who has been performing with the star on their Together tour

Arriving at the event to teach a Quickstep, the longest serving Strictly professional wasted no time showing how much he cared for Giovanni, wrapping him up in a huge bear hug

Arriving at the event to teach a Quickstep, the longest serving Strictly professional wasted no time showing how much he cared for Giovanni, wrapping him up in a huge bear hug 

Giovanni's glamorous girlfriend Molly Brown also showed up to support the star, watching the dance rehearsals with their adorable pet pooch

Giovanni’s glamorous girlfriend Molly Brown also showed up to support the star, watching the dance rehearsals with their adorable pet pooch 

Instantly, it was clear that Giovanni’s class would be the most intense of the three. 

While teaching the Cha Cha Cha, the professional insisted that whenever he asked a question he didn’t want the response to be simply ‘yes’, but ‘yes, Giovanni’. 

However, he did add with a cheeky glint in his eye: ‘I’m getting used to doing panto, I’m practising!’ 

Having blazed through the steps, Giovanni insisted more often than Shirley and Anton that he wanted to watch us perform. 

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EXCLUSIVE

Strictly's Shirley Ballas vows to stay by Giovanni Pernice's side 'forever' amid bullying claims

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Seemingly unimpressed, and rightly so, by the flailing and floundering on the dance floor, he would consistently demand we do it again, and with a grin he uttered his catchphrase, ‘Because it has to be perfect.’ 

Yet rather than try and downplay the ‘militant’ nature of his training that has seen him criticised, he instead leaned into it.  

He seemed to joke around the Strictly scandal by referring to himself as the ‘perfect teacher’ as he watched us rehearse. 

The perfectionist element to him was demonstrated, however, as he was the only instructor to split us into groups to perform so he could ‘watch us all closely.’ 

There was only one moment when Giovanni’s voice was raised – and this was only as he wailed in mock agony when half the class started dancing on the count of one – apparently this is ‘illegal’ in the Cha Cha Cha.  

He even warned, ‘I will jump off this stage’ if we did it again, which turned out to be a hollow threat because of course we all promptly did. 

Having paid £255 for the privilege of my three-hour dance extravaganza, however, I was pleased to be pushed. 

If you’re learning from an industry leader after all, then you might as well make the most of it. 

As it turns out, in my bid to uncover just how I would react to Giovanni's teaching style, I ended up falling for his cha-cha-charm

As it turns out, in my bid to uncover just how I would react to Giovanni’s teaching style, I ended up falling for his cha-cha-charm

Giovanni himself had made it clear from the start that this was to be a ‘fun day’, a chance to ‘make new friends and learn some new dances’.

So I can imagine that the rehearsals for Strictly – when there’s far more at stake than getting a few selfies with the judges – is far more intense. 

Giovanni has previously spoken about his competitive nature, declaring: ‘I’m definitely a perfectionist.

‘Like everybody else, I like to win. But for me it’s more about bringing the best out of partners, especially if I see that there is talent there. I want to do my job properly.’

Throughout the scandal, however, Giovanni has maintained a dignified silence, speaking out just once to publicly ‘reject any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour’. 

For now, it remains to be seen exactly happened in training with himself and Amanda Abbington. 

It’s been reported that Amanda demanded bosses hand over video footage of their rehearsals as she apparently hopes it will ‘back up’ her claims against the singer.

Meanwhile, BBC bosses are said to be ‘scouring nine years of footage’ from Giovanni’s Strictly as part of their misconduct probe. 

Amanda has since rubbished claims Giovanni asked for their rehearsals to be recorded over growing concerns about her behaviour.

‘I asked for them to be recorded, it was me,’ she told The Mail. ‘Giovanni is nasty. He was awful to a few of us, a group of us.’

The actress is said to have met with Gio’s previous dance partners Laura Whitmore and Ranvir Singh earlier this year for an ’emotional summit’ to ‘compare notes’ about their time.

Giovanni launched a fightback by hiring rival law firm Schillings. His case is being handled by Joelle Rich, 39, who represented Johnny Depp in his libel trial in 2020.

Giovanni has faced a wave of scrutiny ever since Amanda (pictured) dramatically quit last year

Giovanni has faced a wave of scrutiny ever since Amanda (pictured) dramatically quit last year

In 2016, former Love Island host Laura Whitmore said she 'cried every day' and felt 'uncomfortable' while training with him

In 2016, former Love Island host Laura Whitmore said she ‘cried every day’ and felt ‘uncomfortable’ while training with him 

Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh also complained about Giovanni to producers back in 2020, during their time on the show

Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh also complained about Giovanni to producers back in 2020, during their time on the show

Former partners have also come out to back him, including Debbie McGee, the widow of the magician Paul Daniels, who was paired with him in 2017

Former partners have also come out to back him, including Debbie McGee, the widow of the magician Paul Daniels, who was paired with him in 2017

However, it could take months to establish what happened between the pair, with sources saying the BBC probe into Giovanni could rumble onto next year. 

The outcome of the investigation must of course be respected, yet having watched Giovanni on the show for years I feel it’s a shame that he won’t be returning to the Strictly ballroom. 

Instead, I’ll have to make do with attending another one of Gio’s workshops. 

While there’s probably no chance that me and my two left feet will be able to keep up with the others, I’ll admit I’m very keen to give another class a go. 

As it turns out, in my bid to uncover just how I would react to Giovanni’s teaching style, I ended up falling for his cha-cha-charm.  

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