Pasha Kovalev: ‘I think we’ve made dance cool again’

Pasha Kovalev. Picture by Meriet Takach
Pasha Kovalev. Picture by Meriet Takach

The show’s called Life Through Dance, but in a way Dance actually is Life as far as Pasha Kovalev – winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2014 – is concerned.

He wouldn’t go as far as to say dance is the solution to everything, but it certainly makes his world go round.

“When people are together and they are happy, so often they will sing and dance. There are so many people who love to dance. Each country has got its own kind of dance, and you have got everything from the oldest dances to the very modern ones. But dance is great at bringing people together.”

Which partly explains the phenomenal success of Strictly Come Dancing, in which Pasha triumphed (or his partner did) late last year.

“I think we have made dance cool again. When you go back to the ’40s and ’50s, everyone was dancing, and then it maybe went out a bit. And then you have got the big films that bring it back, Saturday Night Fever with the disco-dancing and then Dirty Dancing.

“And now so much is about reality TV these days, and Strictly is reality TV’s dance programme. It has become so successful because of a few things really. It is a very, very positive programme. There is no drama going on. Well, maybe a little bit of drama with people going through the process of practising and coping with the pressure, but it is positive drama. It’s a feel-good show, and there is the entertainment. And there is the feeling of achievement. People at home watch Strictly because they see these celebrities who often have had no previous dance experience, and they start to dance and they win through and they do great things.”

Pasha is absolutely insistent: anyone can learn to dance.

“I have been teaching dance for more than 20 years. I have never experienced anybody that can’t learn to dance. People always underestimate their abilities, but with the right guidance they can get through, they can dance. There is always self-consciousness, but people just practise. When you practise, you start to feel comfortable, and when you start to feel comfortable, you don’t feel so self-conscious.”

And then all the benefits follow: “Dance combines so many great things. There are so many different aspects. You have to learn to communicate. You have to work to improve your physical abilities. You have to have the stamina. You have to learn to go to different places in your soul. Each dance is an expression of your heart. For me, it is a little bit like meditation. You are going deep inside yourself when you dance.”

All the sorts of things that come into the touring stage show Life Through Dance, which Pasha promises as a non-stop action-and-sparkles packed journey through life and love, expressed by the language of dance. The production will feature breath-taking choreography, sensational music and amazing costumes, he says.

“It will be a fun and exciting adventure for the entire family during which there will even be the opportunity to participate and experience live on stage the favourite dance styles as seen on TV, leaving the audience supercharged with positive energy and emotion!”

As Pasha says, life is about meeting, about falling in love, about breaking up, about carrying on – all aspects celebrated through dance in the show: “There will be something for everyone, from the young people to the older people through all sorts of different dances they will love to see and enjoy.”

The show plays Horsham’s Capitol on May 30.

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