By Hilary Porter As one of the millions of ardent fans of BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing the opportunity to see a former champion in action on my doorstep was too good to miss.Pasha Kovalev and his partner Anya Garnis were back by popular demand with not one but two nights at the Christchurch venue, well into an intensive 60 date tour and they showed no signs of flagging.In fact had the Strictly judges been there it would most certainly have been a case of “It’s a ten from Len!” There have been various Strictly spin off live shows and all are very different.From the moment the lights dimmed and the unmistakable TV theme tune started to play there was a surge of excitement and anticipation.But this was not a grandiose show along the lines of the all-singing and dancing TV extravaganza.And unlike Strictly colleague Anton du Beke who uses a 25-piece live orchestra for his stage show and Brendan Cole who uses a live band, Pasha relied on a backing tape and one live singer.
And partnered with Anya who he has danced with since his youth the chemistry and magic they created on stage was something to behold.
Pasha won Strictly Come Dancing with Caroline Flack in 2014 and has scored more 10's than any other professional dancer since the series began and it was easy to see how.
Opening the show by telling the audience:” I’ve been here so many times I feel like I know you all,” Pasha added, “It’s time you got to know me better” leading us into the autobiographical theme of the show.
Russia-themed songs such as Robbie Williams’ Party Like a Russian’ took us back to Pasha’s and Anya’s childhoods and there was a traditional Russian dance with National costume .
Pre-recorded video clips featured the pair talking about how they left their families to follow their dream, both arriving in New York at the time of the terror attack on the Twin Towers.