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Bruno Tonioli


Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli
Born (1955-11-25) 25 November 1955
Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Occupation Television personality, choreographer, dancer
Years active 1980–present

Bruno Tonioli (born 25 November 1955) is an Italian choreographer, dancer and TV personality who appears as a judge on the British television dance competition Strictly Come Dancing and its American adaptation Dancing with the Stars on ABC TV in the US. Tonioli co-created and appeared on the BBC talent show DanceX and its American adaptation, Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann.


In the early 1970s, Tonioli was a member of the Paris-based company La Grande Eugène and later joined the Lindsay Kemp Company. He worked extensively as a freelance dancer, including an appearance in Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" video.

Tonioli has worked in the music business as a choreographer for music videos, stage shows and tours for artists such as Duran Duran. His close association with Bananarama produced many videos, from "Venus" to "Movin' On". Tonioli choreographed the band Arcadia's music video for their song "Election Day" as documented in a 1980s documentary entitled The Making of Election Day.

Tonioli's film credits include Ella Enchanted, The Gathering Storm, Little Voice, Dancin' thru the Dark, Enigma, The Parole Officer and What a Girl Wants. His television film credits include Blake's 7, Miss Marple's The Body in the Library, Blonde Bombshell, Scarlet Pimpernel and The Bare Necessities. Theatre credits include La Vie Parisienne, Godspell, Steve Coogan's show The Man Who Thinks He's It and "Forbidden Passion" (BBC TV trilogy in 1985, entitled Oscar in the UK) playing manservant to Oscar Wilde (Michael Gambon).

Other television credits include Absolutely Fabulous (2003), The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon, Ghosts of Oxford Street, The BRIT Awards (1988, 1990, 1991), many Top of the Pops, three Royal Variety Performance shows, Miss World (1998–1999), and the Australian edition of Dancing with the Stars as a guest judge.

In the United States, he has appeared on numerous talk shows including Larry King Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The View, Live with Regis & Kelly, Rachael Ray, The Soup, Lopez Tonight and Chelsea Lately.

In January 2008, ABC premiered Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie-Ann. Tonioli's team won the viewer-voted competition, earning a contract with Hollywood Records.

In 2009 and 2010 he was a judge on the UK tour of Strictly Come Dancing Live, appearing at 45 shows on each tour. During his time with the U.S. Dancing With the Stars, Tonioli called Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan "a little lynx on the prowl" and labelled singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus "a crazy bear lost in a swamp".[1]

A minor controversy arose following Tonioli's remarks to U.S. Dancing With the Stars contestant Michael Bolton and dance partner Chelsie Hightower on the 27 September 2010 after show, when the judge called Bolton's jive dance the worst he had seen in all 11 seasons. Bolton expressed his dissatisfaction prominently in the media afterward, prompting ABC to release a statement defending Tonioli.[2]

In September 2012, Tonioli released an autobiography entitled Bruno Tonioli: My Story. The same year, he appeared as a mariachi singer and dancer in a Dole commercial.

He was a homeowner on the ITV gameshow Through the Keyhole on 21 September 2013.

Personal life

Born in Italy, Tonioli is fluent in five languages: Italian, English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.[3] Tonioli is gay, and has spoken of the homophobic bullying he suffered in his youth.[4] Bruno and long time partner Jason Schanne had a commitment ceremony after the wrap of Dancing with the Stars season 14. The event was star studded with Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek, and Perez Hilton attending.[5]


  1. ^ Staff (20 March 2007) Mills foxtrots onto US dance show BBC News Entertainment, Retrieved 3 November 2011
  2. ^ Seibel, Deborah Starr (2010-09-29). "Backstage at Dancing With the Stars: Pros React to Bruno's Harsh Comments".  
  3. ^ "Bruno Tonioli".  
  5. ^ "Bruno & Jason Wedding Bells". STV Entertainment. 

External links

  • Judges' biography at BBC Strictly Come Dancing site
  • Biography at ABC Dancing with the Stars site
  • Biography at
  • Dancing With The Stars: Is Michael Bolton Over-Reacting? at KRTH-FM
  • Bruno Tonioli at the Internet Movie Database
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