Read on for the exclusive Q & A with Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff.
Are you excited about Burn the Floor returning to the West End?
Robin: I feel very lucky to be invited back to join the cast. It’s like a dream come true for me, especially starring on the West End. I performed in the show from January 2002 until August 2010, so in all I’ve spent nine years of my life with the team, and they’re like my second family. It’s like being called back home. And now with Kristina, I couldn’t do it without her.
Kristina: I am new to the show but knowing that I will have 2 hours a day to dance with Robin and all the other amazing dancers; I am really looking forward to it!
Is it true the show began as a party piece?
Robin: In 1999 it was the format for Elton John’s 50th birthday party. Our producer Harley Medcalf saw a bunch of ballroom dancers doing a floor show and thought this could work on stage and has since had three world tours. But it was felt the show was more organic and it works perfectly for the theatre. It’s the best ballroom show in the world.
Who/What was your inspiration to dance?
Robin: Growing up I always went to the World Championships to see the ‘best of the best’ professionals, and I thought ‘I just want to be like them!’ And then once joining Burn the Floor, one of those professional couples – Jason Gilkison and Peta Robey – were actually running the company as choreographer and director. They were my heroes so working full time every day for 9 years of my life with was an absolutely amazing experience. And now I get to go back and do it again!
What is the magic in your dancing partnership?
Kristina: It just works! We’ve got the same attitude, we’re both Virgos. We have been dancing together on Strictly for almost 3 years and we just love our craft. We always try to make something new to make our performance exciting for the crowd.
Robin: I joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, and the producers put us together. It was the best thing they could ever have done! We get on like a house on fire. We complement each other really well and work like brother and sister. It’s just a great relationship!
And when you’re not dancing, what else do you do?
Robin: Sleeping. I have nothing else in my life except dancing, gym and sleep.
Kristina: I have hobbies such as my beauty collection, but my career will always be dance.
Do you have a favourite type of dance?
Robin: My favourite dance is the Jive. I prefer all of the Latin dances to the Ballroom dances, but as a speciality Jive is my favourite. It’s fun, full of energy, vibrant and pretty much me all over really.
There’s so much to remember – do you have any tricks?
Robin: Everything is built on technique. It’s like having a photographic memory, we see steps once or twice and then it’s stuck with you.
Kristina: Exactly, it’s something we’ve been doing all our lives!
Robin: As far as dance is concerned, there is always stuff to learn. Jason Gilkison (Choreographer) and Peta Roby (Company Manager) have danced together competitively for 36 years and they were always learning new things about each other.
What makes this show different to other Ballroom shows?
Robin: Burn The Floor came before all the TV shows. It was Burn the floor that made Ballroom cool. This is a show for everyone and that has the ability to get everyone up out of their seats. There is nothing like it on stage. This show provides something for everybody. It goes through the ages of dance, where it came from, where it is now and shows you the dance era by era.
Kristina: It doesn’t matter who you are, your age, where you’re from, when you dance you feel that connection between yourself and the public.
Kristina, are you involved in the design of your clothes on Strictly?
Kristina: On Strictly definitely, but some of the revealing dresses, it’s not just up to me – honestly! But in the competitive world of dancing it’s nothing unusual to wear revealing outfits. If you go to Blackpool World Championships you see all sorts, and they’re much more revealing.
What would you do if you weren’t a dancer?
Robin: I can’t imagine doing anything else. It was what I was born to do, and what I am here for. There is no other option.
Kristina: I started dancing from the age of 5, everything in my life is about dance.
Robin, how do you feel about your chances of winning strictly this year?
R: If anyone can do it, Lisa can!
K: I’m so happy for Robin; it’s his time to shine. Robin and Lisa is the best partnership on Strictly this year.
And of course Kristina, you had a wonderful partnership a few years ago..?
Yes I was partnered with my now boyfriend Joe Calzaghe and we’ve been together for three years.
What are the main challenges of the show?
Kristina: I have to lots to learn, this being my first time in the show, but it’s exciting to learn new things and the thrill of being on the West End is absolutely amazing. The physicality is the real challenge of this show because it is so full on.
Robin: As a dancer, if you’re having a bad day you’ll give a completely heartfelt performance. If you’re having a fantastic day you’ll give a vibrant and energetic performance. So every time you come to see Burn the Floor you will always see a different performance. And that is why people come time and time again.
And why should people come see the show?
Robin: A few years ago a lady came to see the show and things were at rock bottom. She came to visit us backstage and told me that the show was 2 hours of her life where she could forget. It doesn’t matter how bad your life is, how bad the world gets, I can guarantee you will watch this show and be enthralled and forget all your worries, and that is why people should come see the show.