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Leading choreographer praises Strictly Come Dancing hopeful Rutherford

Published 02/10/2016

Leading choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne tweeted he was
Leading choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne tweeted he was "a bit in love" with Greg Rutherford

Greg Rutherford nearly quit Strictly Come Dancing after suffering a crisis of confidence, but his efforts have had the seal of approval from one of the biggest names in the dance world - Sir Matthew Bourne.

The Olympic gold medallist, 29, recently told how he "had a complete meltdown" when he discovered so many of his fellow contestants on the BBC One show had a dance background.

But the long-jump star has been given a confidence boost from leading choreographer Sir Matthew.

Sir Matthew, who is famous for his contemporary adaptations of classic ballets such as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, wrote on Twitter he loved Rutherford's performance and said the contestant had a natural gift.

He wrote: "Little bit in love with Greg Rutherford. For a non dancer he has genuine talent and is what this show is about."

Rutherford, who won gold at the London 2012 Games, retweeted the message and replied: "Really appreciate that Matthew Bourne, thank you."

The sportsman has overcome his fears since he walked out of the first group training day and hid in a cupboard. Natalie Lowe, 36, who later became his dance partner, had to haul him back inside.

He is ninth place on the Strictly leader board, after performing a tango to the Eighties hit song Jump by Van Halen.

On Saturday night's show he was criticised by Strictly head judge Len Goodman for dancing with his "bum sticking out", and was urged to "tuck it under".

But Bruno Tonioli disagreed, comparing Rutherford to a locomotive train at "full steam".

Sir Matthew created an all-male ensemble of Swan Lake and is working on a ballet version of the Oscar-winning dance film The Red Shoes.

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