Kristina Rihanoff (Russian: Kristina Pshenichnykh / Pchenitchnykh - Кристина Пшеничных) (born 22 September 1977) is a world finalist professional ballroom dancer, instructor, choreographer and author.[1][2]


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

The daughter of two engineers, Rihanoff was born and grew up in Vladivostok, Russia, and started taking dance lessons from aged 5. Her parents divorced when she was aged 12, during the time when the break up of the Soviet Union was occurring. Living with her mother, aged 15 she became a part-time dance instructor to help the household budget, earning in a day what her professionally educated mother could earn in a month.[3]


Aged 21, she was asked to become an instructor to Russian dancers based in the United States. She also undertook displays and instructed on dance classes in the evenings. She developed her career over the next few years through a combination of teaching and performing, in the United States as well as choreographing shows inChinaHong Kong and Japan.[3]

Continuing her professional dance career, she gained 1st place in the South African International Latin Championship (2005–2006), 2nd in the US National American Rhythm Finals (2003–2005), 2nd in the Open to the World,[4] Mambo Championship (2003–2004), and was a Semi-Finalist at the Open to the World, Blackpool Dance Festival in 2007.

After being partnered with American professional Brian Fortuna, she has performed in the UK with Robin Windsor since 2011.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]Edit

A cast member of the Dancing with the Stars Tour (Winter 2007-08),[1] in September 2008 Rihanoff joined the professional cast of Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with former BBC political correspondent John Sergeant. She won the hearts of the British public, by impressing viewers with her fearless dance prowess and professional routines.[2]

Other work[edit]Edit

Rihanoff choreographs a number of professional and commercial dance works. These have included both Burn the Floor and Dancing on Wheels, which she choreographed with Fortuna.[5] She has also choreographed dance routines inside the television commercials, including those for St Tropez suntan lotion, Panache bras and MeMeMe Cosmetics.[3]

Rihanoff has written a book entitled The Art of Dancesport Makeup for newcomers to Ballroom dance competition, a subject that she studied extensively in Russia.[1]Rihanoff participated in the 2008 Weakest Link 's Strictly Come Dancing special.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]Edit


Rihanoff took part in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008. Her partner was political broadcaster and author John Sergeant.[6] Her professional partner is also another new addition to StrictlyBrian Fortuna.

With Celebrity Partner John Sergeant

Week Dance/song Judges' score Result
Revel Horwood Phillips Goodman Tonioli Total
1 Waltz/"Come Away With Me" 5 5 6 6 22 Safe
2 Merengue Group Dance/"She Bangs" Group Performance - Not Judged
3 Tango/"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" 3 6 6 7 22 Safe
4 Rueda Group Dance/"Birdland" Group Performance - Not Judged
5 Samba/"Papa Loves Mambo" 2 4 5 5 16 Safe
6 Paso Doble/"Concierto de Aranjuez" 3 6 6 6 21 Safe
7 Foxtrot/"I Wanna Be Loved by You" 3 5 6 6 20 Safe
8 Cha Cha Cha/"Twist and Shout" 1 3 4 4 12 Safe
9 American Smooth/"True Love Ways" 5 6 7 7 25 Safe

On 19 November 2008, Sergeant announced that he would be withdrawing from Strictly Come Dancing.[7][8][9]

On 22 November 2008, the pair performed their farewell dance: their Waltz to Norah Jones's 'Come Away with Me'.


Rihanoff returned in the 2009 series of the show, where she partnered professional boxer Joe Calzaghe.[10] Their scores were as follows:

Week Dance/song Judges' score Result
Revel Horwood Goodman Dixon Tonioli Total
Night 1 Tango/"Cite Tango" 2 5 5 4 16 Safe
Night 2 Cha-Cha-Cha/"Chain Of Fools" 2 5 5 4 16 Safe
3 Paso Doble/"Livin' on a Prayer" 3 5 6 5 19 Safe
4 Foxtrot/"Feeling Good" 3 6 6 5 20 Safe
5 Jive/"Rock This Town" 4 6 6 5 21 Eliminated


Rihanoff returned for the 2010 series of the show, partnered with radio personality Goldie. Despite earning 20 and 26 out of 40 for their Cha-Cha-Cha and Foxtrot(which left them with an overall 46 out of 80), the couple were the first to be voted off having gained the fewest votes from the public. She did however win the Christmas special, partnered with John Barrowman, earning her first Strictly trophy.

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Horwood Goodman Dixon Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"TiK ToK" 3 6 6 5 20 N/A
2 Foxtrot/"The Business Of Love" 6 7 7 6 26 Eliminated


On 15 June 2011, the BBC announced that Rihanoff will again be one of the professional dancers training a celebrity in the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing.[11] In the launch show, on 10 September, she was partnered with Jason Donovan.[12] In the first three competitive shows of the series, the partnership received the highest scores from the judging panel.

They made it through to the final of the competition, but were the first of the remaining three couples to have been eliminated.

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Horwood Goodman Dixon Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"Gimme Some Lovin'" 8 8 8 8 32 N/A
2 Foxtrot/"Why Don't You Do Right" 8 8 9 8 33 Safe
3 Tango/"I Will Survive" 9 9 9 9 36 Safe
4 Paso Doble/"I Want It All" 6 7 7 7 27 Safe
5 Quickstep/"Bewitched" 9 9 10 9 37 Safe
6 Rumba/"Killing Me Softly" 6 8* 7 7 28 Safe
7 Viennese Waltz/"Iris" 8 9 9 9 35 Safe
8 Jive/"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" 8 8 9 9 34 Safe
9 Charleston/"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" 9 9 9 9 36 Safe
10 American Smooth/"Singin' in the Rain" 9 9 9 10 37 Bottom two
11 Samba/"Blame It on the Boogie" 8 9 9 8 34 Safe
Argentine Tango/"Assassin's Tango" 10 10 10 10 40
12 Tango/"I Will Survive" 9 10 10 9 38 Third Place
Showdance/"Dancin' Fool" 10 10 10 10 40


On 11 September 2012, the BBC officially revealed that Rihanoff would be partnered with actor, Colin Salmon for the tenth series of the show.[13] The couple were eliminated during the show's Halloween-themed week and this series also saw ballet dancer/choreographer, Darcey Bussell permanently replacing Dixon on the judges panel.

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Horwood Bussell Goodman Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"I Got You (I Feel Good)" 4 7 6 6 23 N/A
2 Viennese Waltz/"Kiss from a Rose" 6 6 6 6 24 Safe
3 Argentine Tango/"GoldenEye" 7 7 6 6 26 Safe
4 Salsa/"Superstition" 5 7 6 6 24 Bottom two
5 Foxtrot/"Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" 6 7 7 7 27 Eliminated

Live Tours & Stage Productions[edit]Edit

Rihanoff joined the 2009 Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour partnered by fellow professional dancer, Matthew Cutler.[14][15] The tour began on 16 January 2009 in Newcastle and ended in Birmingham on 22 February.[16]

On 23 January 2009 at the Manchester Evening News Arena, Rihanoff performed the Samba and Quickstep with Julian Clary; stepping in for his professional partner,Lilia Kopylova. They placed second in the competition that evening.

On the Strictly 2010 tour Rihanoff was partnered with Series 4 Champion Mark Ramprakash. They danced the Salsa and the Argentine Tango. They went on to win against runners-up Austin Healey and Lilia Kopylova.

On the Strictly 2011 tour Rihanoff was partnered with actor Jimi Mistry, they danced the Foxtrot and Paso Doble and a year later Kristina was on tour again alongside Jason Donovan, picking up many Glitter Balls along the way. Later in 2012 Kristina and Robin joined fellow professional Artem Chigvintsev and former Strictly contestant Kara Tointon for the first 'Dance To The Music Tour' with the Strictly live band, the first of its kind.

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