René Casselly says of himself that he used to be “never the great dancer”. This judgment can no longer be upheld. With all kinds of daring lifting figures, he wins “Let’s Dance”.

He came, he jumped and won: the circus artist René Casselly won the RTL show “Let’s Dance”.

With a mixture of spectacular acrobatics and soulful dance movements, the 25-year-old and his dance partner Kathrin Menzinger secured victory in the 15th season of the TV show. The final was like a small triumphal procession: First, the expert jury put the couple in first place, then the television audience confirmed the expert vote. Early on Saturday morning, Casselly jubilantly lifted the winner’s trophy in the form of a thick disco ball.

Necessary “calmness” helped to win

The fact that he can now adorn himself with the title “Dancing Star 2022” only slowly trickled down to the 25-year-old. “I can still hardly believe it,” he said. He used to be “never the great dancer” – but rather the type who always sat in the corner with a glass of water at parties. Actually, he only wanted to survive the first show. That gave him the necessary “serenity”.

Compared with the verdict of the jurors, this self-description had to be seen as a blatant understatement. They showered the artist with praise. “A dream. Just a dream,” said Motsi Mabuse after Casselly had performed a tango with Menzinger. “Pure goosebumps,” said Jorge González.

Even the strict and incorruptible adjudicator Joachim Llambi (“You can boo as much as you want – that doesn’t bother me!”) was so impressed by the performance that he could hardly move. “Why didn’t I get up?” he asked after Casselly had been cheered by the audience in Cologne-Ossendorf. «Because I was speechless. Because I was speechless how sensational you did it here.” The artist himself said: “I definitely want to make Mr. Llambi proud.” Llambi told him like a father: “You made me proud.” From his point of view, Casselly had offered the best performance in the final “by a wide margin”.

Plenty of points for Janin Ullmann

The moderator Janin Ullmann (40), who had been considered a favorite by many experts because of her preliminary work, was left behind. It also got plenty of points, but also minor reviews. Llambi warned about more “casualty”. “It was a bit over the top,” he said. Third place went to former Paralympic athlete Mathias Mester (35). He had to listen to Llambi that he danced “perhaps sometimes a bit too hard, not soft enough”.

But the 1.42 meter tall track and field athlete showed the most humorous performance of the evening. Together with dance partner Renata Lusin (34), he danced across the floor as a blue-painted Smurf – and even fought off an attack by the nasty Smurf enemy Gargamel. In the rather blue hustle and bustle, moderator Jan Köppen joked: “If you only turn it on now: Schalke’s rise is being celebrated here.” Köppen represented the “Let’s Dance” regular moderator Daniel Hartwich, who had to pass due to illness. According to RTL, it was not a corona infection.

In “Let’s Dance” celebrities dance with professional dancers. Last year, ex-pro footballer Rúrik Gíslason clinched victory dressed as the hammer-wielding thunder god Thor.

Sometimes a bloody lip

This time Casselly and Menzinger didn’t dig so deep into the costume box, but showed in their last dance in particular why they had made it to the final: acrobatic contortions, jumps and daring lifting figures – also using fireworks – alternated with intensive, rather quieter moments. The aim was to show “things that had never been seen on “Let’s Dance””, said Casselly, who had accidentally given Menzinger a bloody lip during the training in the ardor of the choreography.

The 25-year-old was born in Hamburg and is part of a seventh-generation circus family that presents artistry. He gained notoriety before “Let’s Dance” with appearances on the RTL show “Ninja Warrior Germany”, in which candidates have to climb through very difficult courses. In 2021 he won there. Winning RTL shows has become a certain tradition in his family. Cousin Ramon Rosselly already did this in the casting program “Deutschland sucht den Superstar”.