Throughout the eighties and nineties, it seemed that ballroom dancing had mysteriously disappeared out of favour with the British public. Come Dancing, the show which had been a hit since the late 1940’s, gradually became banished to graveyard time slots within the television schedule before ultimately being axed in 1998. Just as television had started to forget the magic of ballroom dancing, the BBC launched Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 to huge public acclaim and put ballroom dancing firmly back on the entertainment map.
Press Play, below, to listen to the full interview
Russian born Latin and ballroom dancing champion Pasha Kovalev began cultivating his career at the tender age of eight. In the year 2000 he met fellow dancer Anya Garnis and began a successful partnership which, unbeknownst to either of them, would take them to the dizzy heights of fame. Yet, at this time, seemed a million miles away from the dazzling lights of Broadway. But help was on its way when Pasha and Anya auditioned for the US talent show So You Think You Can Dance presented by Britain’s very own Cat Deeley and featured “Nasty” Nigel Lythgoe on the panel. Pasha disappointingly came fourth in the competition, yet it did offer him an insight into life in front of the camera – something which he would hone in the coming years.
In 2008 Pasha made his debut on the US entertainment extravaganza Dancing With The Stars; the American version of Strictly, which he appeared on a handful of times until 2010 when he looked further afield for his next step. In 2011 he joined the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and was promptly placed with lovable Waterloo Road actress Chelsey Healey. Just three years later, Pasha struck gold when he was paired with television presenter Caroline Flack and ultimately went on to win Strictly Come Dancing 2014 and lift the infamous glitter ball!
Now a household name in Britain, Pasha has now taken his stage show on a nationwide tour entitled Let’s Dance The Night Away alongside longstanding dance partner Anya Garnis. For an art which looked somewhat extinct as recently as the turn of this century, dancing seems to be firmly back on the entertainment map and entertainers like Pasha Kovalev are absorbing huge audiences. To see ballroom dancing return to the theatre is music to the ears of people who like good old fashioned entertainment and it also offers an opportunity for the new generation to fall in love with the magic of the theatre.
The show itself was filled with the glitz and glamour of Strictly but with added “pizzazz” which is only possible to convey within a stage show. Despite being an international star, Pasha recognised the importance of involving a handful of young, local dancers to accompany him on stage which made the show cater to a local audience. This is testament to his generosity as a performer and his love for seeing others shine. Maybe this quality is a major factor in his success as a dance coach and choreographer. Beyond this, Mr Kovalev remains a truly lovely guy and his laid back personality makes him the perfect dance partner for anyone who wants to learn how to move. It was a great pleasure to spend time with Pasha Kovalev and wish him the very best for the future.