Jodie Roberts appears as Guest Judge at Strictly Westminster Dance Grand Final

Photo courtesy of Step Change Studios

On Tuesday, 15 November, World Champion Para-Dressage rider, Jodie Roberts, guest judged the Grand Final of Strictly Dance Westminster.

Not many people can say that on their first visit to London they judged a dance competition -but Jodie Roberts can. Roberts was invited as a guest judge for last months Strictly Westminster Dance Grand Final.

Roberts sat on a celebrity judge panel alongside world-renowned dancer, Wayne Sleep OBE, and journalist, Saba Salman.

Judges professional dancer, Wayne Sleep OBE, journalist Saba Salman, and international GB athlete, Jodie Roberts

The event took place at the famous Porchester Hall in London, where ten dancers with disabilities ranging from sight loss to dementia competed in front of an audience of 200 people. Each contestant had been paired with a professional dancer to prepare for the event.

Judge, Jodie Roberts presenting medals at 2022 Dance Final

Now in its third year, the initiative was created by Step Change Studios and the Westminster City Council. Rashmi Becker MBE, Step Change Studios’ founder, said that “78% of disabled people say their impairment or condition stops them being active, yet 8 in 10 want to be more active,” and the pandemic only made it harder. Through programs like this and free dance workshops put on by their program Dance Westminster, Step Change Studios has helped many have access to dance and use it as an outlet.

Rashmi Becker MBE, Founder, Step Change Studios speaking to itv.com said

“Dancing is something everyone should be able to enjoy, and I hope initiatives like this help challenge perceptions of who can dance and lead to more diversity in dance – from community to a personal level.”

 

Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive SportExcel UK said

‘What an incredible event and what an incredible opportunity for one of our top athletes to be part of!  Enabling people to be physically active is so important and I am delighted that Jodie was able to support the event in her first judging role.  Congratulations to Step Change Studios in all that they do – we all work together to challenge perceptions of what disabled people can do – what better way to do it!’

 

Jodie Roberts is 16 years old from Deganwy, Wales. Jodie is a SportExcel UK GB international para-dressage Champion. She made her international debut at just 15 years old representing Great Britain at the Virtus Para-Dressage Championships.

She has won 2 gold and one silver medal at the Virtus World Para-Dressage Championships. She also has a 2nd place title from the 2019 British Dressage Championships, and both dressage and showjumping gold titles at the 2021 Regional Championships, plus a bronze at the 2021 RDA (Riding for the Disabled) National Championships.  Jodie is leading the way for Great Britain in class II3 and has her sights firmly set on a GB selection for the 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France next June.

For more information on Jodie Roberts, or getting involved in Para-Dressage, contact SportExcel UK.

Read more about the Strictly Westminster Dance Final here

Watch clips from the first Strictly Westminster here