Karen, 30, was born in Valencia, Venezuela, and moved to New York when she was eight years old. She trained as a dancer and choreographer, and has won many ballroom awards, including World Mambo Champion in 2008 and Professional American Rhythm Rising Star Champion in 2009. She has worked with stars including Jennifer Lopez, and appeared as a principal dancer in the hit ballroom stage show Burn the Floor.
Karen said: “If I could dance how I feel about joining ‘Strictly’ – then you’d be able to see how excited I am!” Katie Taylor, the BBC’s controller of entertainment, said: “We welcome Karen to our ‘Strictly’ family – we’re thrilled to have such a fresh and talented professional join us, and I can’t wait to see what she will bring to the ballroom this autumn.”
Karen will be the only new professional in this year’s series, joining Erin Boag, Flavia Cacace, Ola Jordan, Natalie Lowe, Kristina Rihanoff, Aliona Vilani, Artem Chigvintsev, Brendan Cole, Anton Du Beke, James Jordan, Pasha Kovalev, Vincent Simone and Robin Windsor.
Picture: Karen Hauer with Aljaz Skorjanic in Burn the Floor. Photograph: Beytan Erkman