Strictly’s Aljaz Skorjanec admits he ‘wasn’t happy’ as lockdown took toll on mental health

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After Strictly Come Dancing comes to an end, fans can usually see the celebrities and their professional dance partners on the national tour. The professional often then go on to perform in their own shows around the country but last year, the coronavirus pandemic but a stop to the tours. As a result, the professional dancers found themselves spending more time at home than usual and unable to train in dance studios. Reflecting on being stuck indoors for many months, Aljaž Škorjanec explained he noticed he “wasn’t happy” when he was unable to do what he loved.

Aljaž, 30, recalled: “I pretty much didn’t dance from last Christmas [2019], and that’s never happened to me, really.

“Prior to Strictly, I was doing theatre shows, which was eight shows a week. So this year we’re not being able to dance unknowingly.

“I sort of was missing something as soon as we got back into the Strictly machine and we got into that sort of bubble that we created with all the professionals, which we all took a bit like a boot camp with every single day from morning to the evening.”

Speaking on Decathlon’s Power of Ten podcast, he continued: “Then we would hang out and I was really, really noticing then how happy it makes me.”

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Aljaž, who was partnered with Clara Amfo for the 2020 series of Strictly, noted he “wasn’t happy” when he was away from his fellow professionals.

“It was really uncertain times,” he added. “Dancing is what would change my mood of the day, if you know what I mean.

“If you wake up in a funny mood, as soon as I got to a studio, I always end up being happy.

“That’s why you always see me smile, because I do. That is most of the time.”

He went on to explain he “did not do anything” during the first national lockdown while his wife Janette Manrara, 37, “made herself really busy”.

“She would teach classes. She would do a part of ballet in the morning and then another class and then I walk every day,” he recalled.

“So she had a really, really good routine, a really good schedule.

“I kind of, because the tour just got cancelled last 2019, I have one week off and not even that’s sort of a whole week broken in two days.“

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“I had literally seven or eight days off in the whole year,” Aljaž detailed.

“So I was really struggling towards the end of 2019 so when the tour in 2020 got cancelled, I really just said ‘You know what, I’m going to take this opportunity and do nothing.’

“So I switched off my phone for about a month. I really sort of switched off mentally and physically.”

Aljaž missed out on the chance of securing the Strictly Come Dancing Glitterball Trophy with Clara last year as they were booted out in week six.

However, his wife Janette made it to the final for the first time in the show’s history with HRVY.

Unfortunately, Janette missed out on the chance to be champion as Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey scooped victory.

Aljaž and Janette, who spent months apart so they could take part in the latest series, are now catching up on lost time as they lock down together once more.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this year.

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