Strictly star Kristina Rihanoff's Northampton dance academy produces six national ballroom champions
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Four years after Strictly Star Kristina Rihanoff set up her dance academy in Northampton, 23 young dancers have already waltzed their way to national finals with six of them walking away as champions.
Kristina Rihanoff appeared as a professional dancer and choreographer for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing for eight years before she moved to Northampton with her rugby star partner, Ben Cohen.
Together in Sol Central, they founded their award-winning yoga studio ‘Soo Yoga’ and Bespoke Ballroom, which offers tailored dance and drama lessons to children of all abilities. This has allowed Kristina to return to her passion of teaching dance to children, which she loved to assist her teacher with when she was 15.
“There is something extremely special about being part of that growth and development for kids,” Kristina told the Chronicle & Echo, “I want to pass on that love I gained from my dance teachers when I was little.”
Despite the coronavirus pandemic bringing competitive dancing to a halt for the good part of two years, it did not stop Bespoke Ballroom’s young competitors from achieving national stardom at the NATD (National Association of Teachers and Dance) Medalist of the Year National Championship in Blackpool.
The following six pupils emerged as overall champions in their respective categories:
- Ramina Olteanu - Under 6yrs Latin
- Matei Ipati - Under 8yrs Ballroom
- Milena Cotorobai - 8-9yrs Latin
- Angelina Prodan - 8-9yrs Ballroom
- Mariia Filonenko - Under 16yrs Juniors Latin Champion
- Alexander Sorohovs (double champion) - 10-11yrs Latin and Ballroom
Kristina Rihanoff’s daughter, Milena Cohen, and dance partner Carina Lungu won the 7yrs and under Latin category after three rounds out of 30 couples. Matei Ipati and Alexandra Voloscius also won the 9yrs and under Latin category out of over 30 couples. Alexander Sorohovs and Sofija Borozdina won 10-11yrs Latin & Ballroom events out of four rounds and over 40 couples.
Other children who have made national finals include: Lavinia Postica, Carina Lungu, Daniel Cebotaru, Gabija Zvegate, Annalise Waker, Sofia Ipati, Grace Geary, Elena Elisei, Milana Cucuruzac, Elizabeth Coleman and Amelia Angel.
Bespoke Ballroom’s creative director, Kirstina, told this newspaper that what her students have achieved in this short period of time with their hard work is “incredible.”
She continued: “It’s really hard to believe that our local Northampton dance school took so many wins and our kids made pretty much every juvenile and junior finals. None of this is happening by chance; they work extremely hard and of course there is a lot to say about the parents who trust me and support their children’s big dreams.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing these kids shining on the dance floor and growing in confidence. It’s a privilege to pass my passion and knowledge to the next generation.”
The academy was named ‘Bespoke Ballroom’ because Kristina is determined to tailor her classes to every ability and disability. She offers classes ranging from a beginner to advanced competitive level and along with one-on-one lessons for people with additional needs.
Bespoke Ballroom offers classes for latin and ballroom dancing in addition to freestyle, acrobatics, drama and singing. The academy operates on a membership basis, meaning that members can pay a fixed fee to attend as many different classes as they want.
Kristina said: “We do give children something very special. It is not just about ballroom dancing, it is about life skills, being part of the community and part of a family.”
Find out more about Bespoke Ballroom at: https://bespokeballroom.com/index.html