Strictly's Neil Jones: Homeless past pushed me to pursue dance career

Strictly Come Dancing star Neil Jones has said he believes his homeless past pushed him to achieve his goals in his dance career. The professional dancer - who appeared on the Strictly Christmas Special 2022 with TV star Rosie Ramsey - lived on the streets for a time after leaving home to train as a dancer, and believes his difficult past made him a champion in his field.

Video transcript

NEIL JONES: Hello. My name is Neil Jones, and I'm a professional dancer on "Strictly Come Dancing," which I've been doing for about seven years now. My breaking point was when I was around about 16 years old. I'd moved to Finland to train as a dancer, and I found myself in a period of time homeless.

I didn't want to tell anyone. I didn't want anyone to know about it. My friends didn't know about it. I tried to make it work in order to turn up to training. I found actually myself even sleeping just outside of where I was rehearsing. And then I'd get changed and take a shower there so no one would ever know. Even my own mum didn't know until about two years ago when I started talking about it. So that was quite a low point in my life.

But then the turning point for me was when I decided to make the decision to come home back to the UK, started training, and moved then to Holland, where I was there for about eight years. And I progressed and worked really hard until, in the end, I became a world champion. I feel that the low time in my life was what pushed me and drove me to actually make everything happen.