“Dancing in small venues with such close interaction with the audience creates something just so precious.”
That’s how much Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rihanoff is looking forward to bringing her touring show with dance partner Tristan McManus to Coleraine’s Riverside Theatre.
‘An Evening with Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan McManus’ waltzes into the Riverside on November 9 as part of an extensive tour of the UK and Ireland.
Having already danced in “beautiful venues” in Belfast and Londonderry, the champion dancer and star of Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing is looking forward to visiting the north coast.
“This was Tristan’s idea to come to Ireland, obviously because he is Irish!” she laughed, adding: “And because I just fell in love with the place when I toured here before, I was delighted. It’s such a pleasure to dance here because you feel such love from the fans.
“It is beautiful that your culture of dance is protected and nurtured and that you take such pride in your dance in Ireland. I am from Russia and it is very much a country where song and dance are part of any occasion. It’s in our blood and I think that is true for the Irish too.”
Kristina promises that the Riverside Theatre show will afford dance fans the opportunity for audience participation, a Question and Answer session and “the chance to come up on stage and have a go”.
“I am also really excited because, as patron of the charity Dot Com which empowers children to grow into confident adults, I came up with the idea of inviting a local dance school to come along on the night and perform a group dance with us.
“I hope it will be really exciting for the young people to dance with us in front of an audience and perhaps it might inspire some of them to pursue a career in dance.”
A world class dancer and choreographer, Kristina also holds a Masters degree in Tourism and Hospitality and is now a busy, working mum.
“I am a self-confessed workaholic but when my daughter Mila was born, I took a lot of time off just to be at home with her. Now that I have left Strictly and am working freelance, I can pick and choose to suit myself more so it was wonderful just to take time to enjoy my baby.
“There is such unrealistic pressure on women to ‘get back into shape’ after they have a baby. We should be thinking about our baby and our family and not worrying about losing weight.
“I had a year off raising Mila before I even started building up some strength again. I spent some time teaching - which I love - before I worked up to some performances. There’s no such thing as an average day being a mum and working freelance.
“I love teaching and am a very creative person so in the future, I would love to work on a big TV show, like a talent show, but behind the scenes as a creative director. I always choreographed both group and solo dances for Strictly and I love choreographing for tours so it’s a natural progression, I feel.
That would really get the creative juices flowing,” she said.