As many of you know, here at MacManiacs.org we love to talk with different artists about their work, and we were delighted when Strictly Come Dancing pro Kristina Rihanoff agreed to answer some of our questions. We know you will love this interview with her! It will be permanently archived here, but it also currently on this website's Spotlight Page where you will be able to see enlarged versions of all of the photos.
Special thanks to Fiona Whyte Photography for giving us permission to use the photos contained in this interview.
First of all, congratulations on a very successful Strictly Come Dancing series and tour. You and Simon created a wonderful partnership. How was the experience of working with him?
Simon was great to work with. Very dedicated and respectful. That is what is needed to create a good team on the floor.
What were his strengths as a dance partner and a dance student?
He never doubted me as a teacher and mentor. That's why he was partnering me so well.
We all want to hear about that amazing Argentine Tango! How did the choreography come together and how difficult was it to master that final lift?
The last lift was something I've done with Robin Windsor before and I always loved that lift as it is so unexpected. It's actually a very easy lift to do if the lady has a good core.
The Argentine Tango was a make or break deal and Simon knew it and rose to the occasion. He definitely took the show seriously and wanted to show how much he loved the dancing.
Tell us about the tour experience this year. Was there a particular venue, audience, or city that stands out for you?
The tour was really great as Simon and I won most of the shows around the country and now I have my own Glitter Ball!! Every venue is special as I feel so much love and appreciation for my craft. It's was my dream since I was 6 to perform in front of people so every time I'm on stage I feel very happy.
What made it particularly special?
Winning almost every night !!!
You are always busy – performing, teaching, and performing some more! Fill us in on what you've been doing.
Robin and I have been doing the Puttin’ on the Ritz theater show which is absolute fantastic. We love dancing and choreographing our own solos so it's a blast. Also we do loads of cruises, private and corporate events.
Things seemed to go so smoothly on the tour, but was that always the case? Were there any missed cues, wardrobe issues, etc. that would make for a good story?
Not on my watch!!
Take us through a typical day for you on a Strictly Come Dancing show day. For instance, how much time in hair and makeup, camera blocking, etc.
Girls get to the studios as early as 8 a.m. for hair and makeup. Then it's a band call with your partner, then full dress run and live show. After the live show we have about 40 minutes to change for a group number prerecord, and then we film the Sunday show. So I get home about midnight on Saturdays. It's about a 16 hour day!
Similarly what was a typical show day like on the tour – particularly on days in which you had 2 shows?
Tour is much easier. I have time to sleep in and take a look around the cities. I do my own hair and make up on the tour so I can get in a little later then other girls - about 2 hours before the show.
We have heard about your passion for charity work and would like to know more about it and find out how we can help. Please tell us about the Dot Com Children’s Foundation.
I've met my charity CEO Sharon Evans about 5 years ago. She asked me to perform at one of the events so I did. Then we got very close and I really wanted to help. I went to loads of schools in very deprived areas and spoke to children about how to achieve their dreams. It has been a very rewarding experience and I wanted to do more. I became a trustee and then a patron of the charity. I did my very first fundraising event last year and raised 93000£!!! I was overwhelmed with the amount of support from SCD professionals. It's great to have good friends in a very tough show business.
While Tristan has fans worldwide, we are U.S. based as are many of his supporters. Please tell us about the time you spent living, training and working here in the states. Are there any special cites or places that you were especially fond of?
I moved to Seattle when I was 23 to compete professionally. Also I lived a little bit in LA before I moved to London. I will always love Seattle. My best friend lives there and I'm a godmother to her son. The city reminds me of my hometown Vladivostok. It's also a seaport and I love the sea so much ! I miss it.
We have to ask. What was it like having Tristan as your pro partner last year on Strictly? Any fun stories you could share?
Tristan was great to work with and he has a fantastic sense of humour. We had a lot of fun at rehearsals. It can get tiring and hard but Tristan always cracks a good old Irish joke! All the pros love working with Tristan!!
It was such a pleasure watching you dance last year and seeing all the wonderful clips of you on the tour. Do you have any words for all of your new supporters? (and you have lots of new fans here!)
I just want to thank everyone for support and for giving us pros your kind energy. The show comes with loads of hard work and dedication. It's great to know that our fans are there for us. We create, teach and dance for all of you. Thank you for being such a wonderful fan group !!
For information on the Dot Com Children's Foundation: