Kristina Rihanoff Kristina Rihanoff


Career Highlights/CV

Kristina's journey began in the unforgiving, arctic climate of Siberia. Her father, a musician and composer, enveloped Kristina's home in music, and Kristina fell in love with music and dance at an early age. As a child, Kristina used her ballet training to hone the skills that would one day make her a ballroom champion. She studied both Latin and Standard styles, but it was the Latin harmonies and movements that truly stirred her passion. From 16 years of age she was already teaching dance, an occupation that combined her fondness for children and the hobby that was quickly becoming a destined profession for the young star. This life long love affair with dance since the age of 7 guided her through scores of competitions as a youngster and she ultimately became a renowned dance champion in Russia's Far-Eastern region and to audiences all over the World.

Kristina never ignored the importance of higher education, and by the age of 21, she had obtained a Master's degree in Tourism and Hospitality. It was then that she was invited to the United States to compete professionally. She moved to Seattle , Washington in 2001 and dedicated all of her time to professional dance competition. She learned several new styles of dance in the U.S. including salsa, American rhythm, and exhibition/theatre style. She was so successful that she and her partner won second place at the American Rhythm Finals for three years in a row. They travelled around north America and abroad to perform and compete around the world. A few years later in 2004, Kristina and her partner were invited to represent the U.S. in the most prestigious competition in the professional dance world, the World Exhibition at the Blackpool Dance Festival, where the couple placed second in the theatre-style category. Kristina then returned to International-style Latin with a new partner, one of Latin dance's most famous ballroom masters. Their partnership saw them promptly win the South African Championship and they were also semi-finalists at the 2007 Blackpool competition in the Latin American division. In fact, Kristina's won quite a few awards:  

  • 2nd Place , U.S. National American Rhythm Finals, 2003, 2004, and 2005.

  • American Rhythm RS National Champions 2004.

  • 2nd Place, Open to the World, Mambo Championship, 2003 and 2004.

  • 2nd Place, Open to the World, American Rhythm Finals, 2005.

  • 1st Place, South African National Latin Champions, 2006.

  • 2nd Place, World Exhibition British Final, (Blackpool) 2004.

  • Semifinalist, Open to the World, British Open (Blackpool), 2007.

After many impressive achievements Kristina retired from competitive dance, and joined the US hit TV series 'Dancing with the Stars' winter tour in 2007/2008. It was less than a year later that her increasing popularity and the public's admiration for her dance brought her to London to join the hugely popular british show 'Strictly Come dancing'. It was on this stage that the UK became exposed to Kristina's exceptional choreography through her carefully composed dances for the Professionals, and her own solo pieces. In her first season she was partnered with the well respected Political Broadcaster John Sergeant. It was at this time she won the hearts of the British Public impressing viewers with her fearless dance prowess, and professional routines. Only a few months later she joined other fellow professional dancers and celebrities to tour the UK in the sold out live tour of Strictly Come Dancing. This was to be the beginning of a busy year for Kristina, as she went on to choreograph for the BBC3 show ‘ Dancing on Wheels’, alongside her then Professional partner Brian Fortuna. For the first time in her career, Kristina adapted her choreography for Wheel chair dance in the hope to promote the sport in Britain, later describing it as an ‘ Inspirational and humbling experience’. In the Autumn of 2009 Kristina was on prime time television again to take her place in the new series line up of Strictly, where she was partnered with the undefeated boxing sensation Joe Calzaghe. Once again Kristina amazed the british public with her expertise which saw her soften Calzaghe's boxing image, and transform him onto the ballroom stage.

In addition to her dance craft, Kristina has extensive knowledge and experience of stage make up, having studied in Russia. She has her own book published on the topic – ‘The Art of Dancesport Make – Up’, which aims to teach newcomers to competitive ballroom, which due to popularity saw her release a 2nd addition back in the summer of 2009. During this time she was unveiled as the Celebrity Ambassador for the St Tropez Perfect legs tanning, and was also involved in a number of high end commercial brands including the Glo Minerals make up range. Throughout these busy periods Kristina also found time to support the Breast cancer campaign by modelling the Pink Vest in 2009, which aims to raise money during the October cancer awareness month.

2010 was another whirlwind year for Kristina. She took part in her second Strictly Come Dancing live tour, at the start of the year. She later went on an extensive tour of the UK with her professional partner Brian Fortuna, performing their showcase to sold out theatres up and down the country. Shortly after, Kristina embarked on yet another sold out tour alongside 7 other world class dancers, from the smash hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing. This sensational show, ‘ The Professionals Tour’, was the first of its kind, concentrating on the flawless routines of the dancers, with not a judge or celebrity in sight. With a short break over the summer months Kristina was a popular face in the press and media. From modelling campaigns in Closer magazine and a 5 page spread in Hello, as well as featuring regularly in health and make up columns Kristina had fast became a well known celebrity face before the 2010 Strictly season began.

She was partnered with the popular and entertaining DJ Goldie, in a new and exciting live launch. Unfortunately Kristina and Goldie were knocked out of the competition in the first eviction stage. This early departure was quickly forgotten as later on in the year Kristina went on to lift the glitter ball with the star of stage and screen John Barrownman, for the Christmas special. Their impressive quick step captivated millions of viewers up and down the country during the festive period. Throughout this latter part of 2010 Kristina appeared in a number of TV shows and was a guest at numerous high profile events away from the Strictly arena to include the hairy bikers cook off, Mastermind, Five Live, Alan Titchmarsh show, British fashion awards, Pride of Britain, Beauty & the Beast HD launch, as well as taking the time to do a night time charity walk in aid of UNICEF. It was during this time that Kristina also choreographed for the national Aviva commercial staring Paul Whitehouse which currently airs on national TV. She also modelled for the La Senza underwear brand in a promotion for the Sun Tabloid all adding to her diverse and impressive portfolio.

Kristina began 2011 by touring with Strictly Come Dancing where she partnered series 8 contestant Jimi Mistry. Shortly afterwards she toured the country with her professional partner Robin Windsor performing at various venues and events all over the UK. After a busy summer series 9 of SCD later that year was Kristina's best yet as she joined a childhood idol and star of stage and screen Jason Donovan. They topped the leader board early on dazzling the judges with their routines and Kristina's choreography at its best which saw them reach the live final in Blackpool. They finished 3rd overall losing out to Mcfly's Harry Judd who was crowned the champion. Their partnership continued to their fan's delight as in early 2012 they joined the live tour where they lifted the glitter ball on more than once occasion.

2012 was a whirlwind year for Kristina. After the Live Tour came to an end, she had a number of shows with Robin before embarking on the first tour of its kind, Dance To The Music alongside fellow Strictly professional Artem Chigvintsev and his real life girlfriend and series 8 champion Kara Tointon. Dave Arch and the rest of the Strictly Come Dancing band joined them on the tour throughout June and early July where they entertained sold out theatres all over the the UK. During these many dance commitments Kristina has found time to be the face and ambassador of Panache sports bra to raise money for Cancer Research. This was followed with the release of her own cosmetics range in association with MEMEME cosmetics. As a trained beauty therapist herself, Kristina's range captured her style and expertise, perfect for the party season. Throughout this she joined the actor Colin Salmon for her 5th series of Strictly Come Dancing.

2013 saw a dream come true for Kristina, as she joined the cast of Burn The Floor on London's West End. Her and professional partner Robin Windsor joined the tour for 3 months, wowing audiences along the way. Not long after this ended the new series of Strictly Come Dancing hit our screens where Kristina was partnered with rugby star Ben Cohen. Kristina was able to turn the complete novice into a ballroom dancer, where they stayed until 3 weeks prior to the final. They later toured together for the 2014 Strictly Come Dancing live tour, impressing audiences with their routines which saw them lift the Glitter Ball on one occasion.

Kristina made her 2nd Strictly Come Dancing Final in 2014, partnered with Blue singer Simon Webbe. Simon was praised throughout the series for his improvement, and after surviving a few dances offs in the series they sailed through to the final 3. Shortly after, they toured together and wowed people across the UK, which secured them the majority vote and the overall winners of the 2015 Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour!