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Kristina foxtrots her way to Preston

Christopher Maloney and Kristina Rihanoff will star in Dance to the Music
Christopher Maloney and Kristina Rihanoff will star in Dance to the Music
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Fans of Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor will not want to miss this mash-up as dancer Kristina Rihanoff and singer Christopher Maloney are set to team up in a new smash hit dance show that promises to transport audiences on a musical journey through time.

The pair became close pals during their time in Celebrity Big Brother and now they will be appearing together in a tour of glittering stage show Dance to the Music.

Christopher Maloney with Kirstina Rihanoff and her dance partner Robin Windsor

Christopher Maloney with Kirstina Rihanoff and her dance partner Robin Windsor

Kristina was meeting with the producer for Dance to the Music when she stopped for a chat.

Talking about the new show, she said: "We wanted to bring a show to the stage where all generations of the family could enjoy it - whether that be eight or 80. So there is something in the show that will appeal to them because the basis of the show is the evolution of dance, through music, from 1920s to present day.

"We go from the 1920s, the Depression era, with the Charleston and fox-trot and so on, and then moving into the 30s, 40s, etc - every decade - where we take the most iconic song of each decade and we show what was happening in the dance world at that time.

"So we go from the Charleston, to the fox-trot, to the Lindy Hop, jive and rock 'n' roll, and then disco and hustle, then moving in the break-dancing and street dancing and then all present styles, which include Latin, ballroom, Argentine, tango and salsa and so on. So it's a celebration of dance through music that all the generations can enjoy."

Jonathan and Oksana Platero who will also be performing in Dance to the Music

Jonathan and Oksana Platero who will also be performing in Dance to the Music

She will be performing most of the dances herself, along with a cast of seven others, and is paired with her former professional dance partner Robin Windsor.

She said: "I have a team of dancers. I have an amazing cast of eight. Myself and Robin Windsor - I am reunited with my wonderful partner - who also starred on Strictly, and we have six other dancers, so eight of us altogether.

"The dancers are all very versatile, so we do have people who specialise in the tap, street dancing and break-dancing, which we don't do obviously. And then, you know we dance what we know, like ballroom, Latin and so on.

"We also have Oksana Platero, who danced the other year on Strictly with Judge Rinder, and her husband Jonathan performing with us. They are a very versatile couple. They are absolutely incredible, with old styles like your salsas. An incredible couple who do amazing lifts - absolutely mindblowing!

"So, our cast contains very, very strong dancers who are very versatile and can present every style."

Rehearsals for such a demanding show are well underway now and started with a week of initial rehearsals in November, followed by 10 intensive days at the beginning of January. Kristina said: "What's great about it is where the people really create it, so we obviously always bounce ideas off each other."

But all the hard work doesn't just happen on the stage. There's a lot of prep work that goes on, even before rehearsals start. She said: "Right now we have a creative meeting with the producer of the show and we are going through the music, the songs, writing the script and thinking about the costumes and so on, and it's really exciting for me to be on this side because this will be really the first time I will direct and choreograph something like this.

"And this will be a long time dream come true for me because I always, always choreographed loads of group dances in my years on Strictly and I always knew that one day this would be something I wanted to do - basically, direct and choreograph, so you know, this is exactly what I always wanted to do and it's finally here! So I am really excited!

"So it will be challenging as well because of the having to dance myself, and then choreograph and direct and you know, it is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. So it is exciting. I am very much looking forward to it."

Teaming up with X Factor finalist Christopher Maloney won't actually be a first for Kirstina, who she first met during her time on Celebrity Big Brother.

She added: "Chris and I know each other from our time in Big Brother. That is where I met Chris. He was my lovely housemate. And he remained a good friend after the show.

"Chris sang actually at my charity event, you know I had quite a few charity balls last year, and Chris was very kind to come and perform.

"And you know what, when I catch his voice live, and he did several different songs, which I also danced to, I thought actually, he would be absolutely great for a tour because he is very versatile and his voice is so strong when you hear it live.

"Obviously there are a lot recording artists who sound good on a record but it is very different to hear somebody live and you have to have that sort of ability to be a very strong singer in live shows. It is a very different ball game.

"And I was absolutely blown away with his voice and that's how I thought to put his name forward to my producers and to actually say, 'You know what, he is the perfect guy because he is able to sing live very different styles and sounds so, so strong and so good.'

"So yeah, that's how it came about. I have kind of worked with Chris and danced to his voice at my charity event, but you know, this is obviously a very big production and I am very glad to have him on board."

Coming to the North West isn't a new experience for Kirstina as she has done some teaching in local dance schools and also performed shows for various dance groups. But the big attraction for any dancer has to be Blackpool Tower's Ballroom, where Kristina has performed many times.

She said: "I have danced quite a few times at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, not only with Strictly but also for various dancing competitions and it is a magnificent place. Literally there's nothing like that.

"When you step into the Ballroom you just feel so grand and so amazing there. I think it's that sort of venue that makes everyone more beautiful and better.

"And on Strictly you know I performed quite a few times there. My first final on Strictly was Jason Donavon and that's the only time we took the final to Blackpool. And that was very, very special.

"And then I danced with Simon Webbe obviously there as well when we did our Argentine tango and that I think was also very special. I think that was when Simon performed and danced so amazingly. Because obviously we all can say, the professionals or celebs, it's a beautiful venue but until you get there you don't really get it. And when Simon walked in I think it just gave him an extra boost of power to really, really perform and so forth.

"So it is a special place and you know I consider myself lucky to be able to perform there."

It is fan favourite Strictly Come Dancing that Kristina will mostly be remembered for, but what was her time on the show like? Her answer was simple: "It was exciting!

"I spent eight years on Strictly Come Dancing and every year was very different, with very different celebrities."

Kristina continued: "But I think this is what that sort of experience on Strictly, with different people and doing different stuff, that kind of gave me the chance to succeed to go and create my own show, which will be very versatile in style for people to see. And there is no show like that so I'm really excited to be involved. It's exciting to create a family show I suppose."

As Dance to the Music promises to be a show like no other, what are Kristina's hopes?

She said: "I think more than anything I just want people to come and enjoy the show and bring everyone! Bring everyone along - grandparents, parents and grandchildren and children. Just enjoy the whole experience together because I think that is what dancing is there for. It unites everyone and makes everyone feel happy and feel good. And this is going to be a feel-good show, so I really hope that families will come along together because it will be a fun show for the kids, a fun show for the adults."

Dance to the Music is on at Preston Guild Hall on Saturday, January 13. Curtain up is 7.30pm and ticket prices start at £26.50, with various concessions available. To book your tickets visit https://prestonguildhall.co.uk/ or call the box office on 01772 80 44 44.