FLICKY HARRISON learns of Pasha’s Hollywood dreams for his glitzy new dance extravaganza

STRICTLY Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev has invited young Swindon dancers to join him on stage in his new show.

Pasha is currently dancing his way through a 66-date tour with The Magic of Hollywood, which he has created with his long term dance partner Anya Garnis.

Pasha and Anya met at a dance class in Siberia when they were teenagers in the 1990s. They both moved to America in 2001, when Anya persuaded Pasha to audition for the American-style Strictly show, So You Think You Can Dance. They were also the lead dancers in the Broadway show Burn the Floor. Pasha then joined the cast of Strictly in 2011 and Anya followed his dance steps on to the television show in 2013.

Pasha said: “Anya and I have been dancing together for 20 years. we started because ballroom dancing is a man and a woman thing, so we danced together, and now we create together and collaborate together. We have intuition, we know each other so well. We cover different sides of dance and we compliment each other.’’

When they bring the show to Swindon, Pasha and Anya will be joined on stage by young dancers from the Gemma Short School of Dance and Theatre Arts.

“We are doing 66 shows and we use different dance schools. With kids being part of the show it bring a different energy and character to the stage,’’ said Pasha. “Each performance I learn something new, it’s stimulating, and it’s good to see the kids on stage, to see them grow, as lots of them come back year after year.’’

Gemma Short School of Dance and Theatre Arts is based in Swindon town centre and students have the opportunity to train for ISTD examinations in ballet, tap, modern, jazz and national dance, as well as limbering, musical theatre, singing, drama, dance fitness and acro for dance from a team of 14 specialists led by Gemma herself.

The new show is based on Pasha and Anya’s favourite movies and music from Hollywood.

“We built the show round the iconic music from various movies, but there is a love story going on, and of course all the costumes, lights and dance,’’ said Pasha.

Following the tour, Pasha will be hopping on board one of the P&O ships to perform in the Strictly Cruises. “We also give classes on the boats,’’ he said.

Pasha, and all the other pro dancers from the successful BBC television programme, begin their Strictly journey for this yearin August when they go through the professional routines.

“We need to start that early because during the show we are helping our celebrities and in the last series there were 27 group routines,’’ said Pasha. “That’s a lot of dance to learn in a short space of time.

The pros meet the celebrity contestants only two days before the camera starts to role when they begin to create the first group dance.

“You don’t know who you are going to be dancing with, it’s strictly private, the production staff makes the decision, although height does play a role,’’ said Pasha.

The dancer has notched up a good record in the TV extravaganza including walking away with the glitter ball trophy in 2014 with his partner Caroline Flack.

His other celeb partners through the years have included Chelsee Healey from BBC 1 TV’s Waterloo Road, last year’s Chizzy Akuduolu from Holby City, Countdown host Rachel Riley and Kimberley Walsh from the band Girls Aloud. Thanks to Kimberley, Pasha was persuaded to dance in one of the pop band’s music videos.

“It was a spontaneous thing. Her schedule mean’t I went to her to practice, and she had this brilliant idea to involve me,’’ said Pasha.

The Magic of Hollywood is coming to the Wyvern on Friday, April 27 from 7.30pm. Tickets: £28 from 01793 524481 or www.swindontheatres.co.uk. See www.pashakovalev.co.uk