Greg Rutherford's Strictly performance praised by leading choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne


He nearly quit Strictly Come Dancing after suffering a crisis of confidence, but Greg Rutherford's 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.

Greg Rutherford on the dancefloor (Guy Levy/BBC/Press Association Images)

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

Greg, who won gold at the London 2012 Games, proudly retweeted the message.

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.

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

Strictly's Greg Rutherford (Jay Brooks/BBC /PA Images)

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 Greg 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.