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Former Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rehanov reveals the inspiration behind launching Northampton Academy

As Strictly Fever takes over the nation by launching Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC, former professional dancer Kristina Ryhanoff says she will be watching the show with her daughter Mila.

The six-year-old would have no problem commenting on the contestants’ performance.

“It’s really funny,” says Christina. “Mila is only six years old and has only been dancing for a year but she is really starting to understand what is good dancing and what isn’t. She was always saying, ‘I like this and I don’t like that! It’s really cool.’”

Kristina Ryhanov during a class at the Bespoke Ballroom Dance Academy at Soo Yoga

In fact, Mila was one of the reasons Christina opened the Academy of Dance and Drama, Bespoke Ballroom at Soo Yoga studio in Northampton in 2018.

“I wanted to give my daughter the same journey I took in ballroom dancing,” says the Strictly star.

Christina now wants to give more kids the chance to develop their ballroom and Latin dance skills which is why she’s expanding the Dance and Drama Academy to include new classes for kids, teens and adults as well.

“We are opening more classes at Ballroom Academy including a new beginner class for kids to replace those who have moved on to juniors, and some new classes for teens and adults,” says Christina. actively with my teenage son or daughter.” Well, now I am offering them a chance to take dance lessons together.”

Kristina Ryhanov during a class at the Bespoke Ballroom Dance Academy at Soo Yoga

“It’s funny how a lot of kids don’t know about my background in entertainment. Parents do but not kids. I left BBC TV Strictly Come Dancing after eight years when I had a flair.”

They may not have seen it on TV, but the kids dancing at the Bespoke Ballroom are experiencing Christina’s passion for dancing and teaching.

“What I enjoy most in life is teaching children – it’s the most joyful and most rewarding thing ever,” she says. “It’s the best feeling ever to see the next generation fall in love with dance.”

“Whether they choose to break it with a career; if you take them off the street for a few weeks or take them off social media, ballroom dancing is a great activity.

Kristina Ryhanov dancing with her daughter Mila

“In addition to learning new skills in dance, children develop their confidence and learn social skills as well.”

Commenting on this year’s BBC Strictly Come Dancing programme, Christina is pleased that the popular show is leading the way in celebrating diversity. Among the contenders are a same-sex couple, and a former Paralympian of short stature.

Christina says, “I think the show does a great job of celebrating diversity. Anything can be done in dance in terms of choreography and I’m sure it will be a very interesting journey.”

“In fact, when I joined strictly in the summer of 2008, I took part in a one-off show on BBC 3, Dancing on Wheels and it was the first time I met Caroline Flack who was one of the dancers. This was an amazing project. Six wheelchair users participated And I remember Caroline winning that show with a gentleman who was an amputee twice.”