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Bruno Tonioli's Biography

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Who is Bruno Tonioli?

Bruno Tonioli is a judge on Strictly Come Dancing in the UK and Dancing with the Stars in the USA.

He told the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Site that he was into dance from a very early age:

"When I was in Italy as a child my father was an absolute fan of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and all the great Hollywood musicals of the Golden Age. I was totally possessed by them. I was told I was dancing as a toddler in front of the radio ..."

Bruno's father, Werther was a bus driver and his mother, Fulvia fitted upholstery into cars and also worked as a seamstress.

Bruno Tonioli is a choreographer, who has worked on films such as Ella Enchanted and Little Voice, and the videos and shows of stars like Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney.

Before becoming a choreographer, Bruno Tonioli danced and acted. For example, he was one of the dancers on the video for Elton John's, I'm Still Standing, which was directed by Arlene Phillips.

Bruno Tonioli also did an impersonation of Rod Stewart on one of Bruce Forsyth's television shows.

Bruno switched from dancing to choreography almost by accident. He was about to get his big break starring opposite Pamela Stephenson, when the Equity strike scuppered the project. Pamela Stephenson asked Bruno to give her dance lessons and she suggested he take up choreography. The rest is history.

Ironically, in 2010, Bruno was to judge Pamela Stephenson on Strictly Come Dancing.

According to The Times, Bruno has a good way of describing dance: "Dance is not just a series of steps — you have to sell them."

The Guardian's review of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens complimented Bruno Tonioli's choreography:

"But in the second half, at least, the choreography of Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli comes into its own with the terrific We Are the Shrink Wrap Boys, a male pole-dancing extravaganza performed in tiny shorts that epitomises a show that is good clean dirty fun, and wouldn't really shock your mum."

An example of Bruno Tonioli's turn of phrase was describing Darren Gough as the "Yorkshire Valentino" and comparing Fiona Phillips's dancing to "Kate Winslet hanging on to the deck of the Titanic as it was sinking."

On 25 August 2007, Bruno's team beat Arlene Phillips's team in the BBC's Dance X.

Bruno had known Arlene long before Strictly Come Dancing and Dance X as they had worked together with Hot Gossip on the Kenny Everett show.

As well as Bruno Tonioli and Arlene Phillips, our Dance X coverage features biographies of Ashley Wallen, Joshua Alamu, Derek Hough, CeCe Sammy and Ben Shephard.

In 2008, Bruno Tonioli and fellow Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba featured in the USA's version of Dance X called Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann.

On 21 October 2017, Bruno missed his first Strictly Come Dancing show in 13 years of being a judge. It was because of 'a very busy work schedule'.

In October 2020, the BBC announced that Bruno Tonioli would be appearing on the second series of Celebrity Supply Teacher, alongside the likes of Gemma Collins and Kimberley Walsh.

In 2023, he replaced David Walliams as a judge on Britain's Got Talent.

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