FORMER Strictly Come Dancing dancer, Kristina Rihanoff is a perfectionist who is in her words 'her own harshest critic'.

But this is down to her having been born in and spending her formative years in the former Soviet Union, as when learning to dance she was pushed all the way and nothing but success was merited.

While this might not have been to everyone’s taste, Kristina felt it helped her become driven to be one of the best.

This success has seen her rise and rise to have been one of the professional dancers on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing for eight years and now creating and starring in her own musical called 'Dance to the Music' which will be at Westlands in Yeovil on Thursday, February 22.

This musical is a journey of dance from the 20's to today and features a full cast of 8 dancers, including former Strictly professionals, Robin Windsor, and Oksana Platero, plus two amazing singers, Chris Maloney (X Factor finalist), and singer/songwriter, Beth Sherburn.

Expect to see dance styles including, the Argentine Tango, Rock-n-Roll, Contemporary Ballet, Salsa and more…

Looking back on the road which took her into the world of dance, Kristina said: "I started dancing when I was five years old when I was at kindergarten.

"When I went to school I learnt how to do ballroom dancing and I loved doing it, I loved it from day one.

"I think when I dance it is the perfect combination when your mind and happiness combine and nothing else means anything.

"It gives you a chance to escape, you can switch off your mind and you can escape into a different world.

"Teaching someone to dance is not easy. I did it for eight years when I was on Strictly Come Dancing.

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"I have had a few John Sergeant's in my time. It doesn't matter if you are John Sergeant on Strictly Come Dancing or in another class each one provides a different challenge.

"Someone who has a better understanding of dance just enters at a different level.

"I worked with a number of different people in that time.

"You have to be able to let it go but be dedicated.

"How good you you can be depends at what point you want to reach.

"If you want to just go out for a night of dancing that is fine.

"If you want to know how there is a synergy between the music and dance then that is more.

"It is easier to say things through dance than acting. The language of dance knows no boundaries.

"Dancing is something I have always wanted to do. Talent will take you so far but you have to work hard to get better in your craft.

"You have to do the hard work and get into your craft and go the extra mile to be the best you can be."

Many of us might have a hankering to be a dancer or even desire to become a better dance than we are when we watch a show like Strictly Come Dancing.

Whenever something looks easy we can envisage ourselves doing it, but when we try it is far more technical then we imagined and for some they have to let their inhibitions go to be more flamboyant when dancing.

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But what is it like being a professional dancer?

Kristina explained: "Being a professional dance can look glamorous but I am sitting here in a dressing room in Middlesbrough having a bite to eat in between two shows.

"What the public do not see is behind the scenes.

"When I first started doing competitions I saved all the money I had and put it into what I was doing as dancer.

"It was not until I got selected for Strictly Come Dancing that things changed.

"You do not become more famous or earn more money. It is six months of your life of hard work.

"As a professional dancer you have to teach the person to dance and you have to choreograph the dances.

"I can be my worst and harshest critic.

"I was born in the former Soviet Union and I was pushed to succeed as nothing was ever good enough.

"It pushed discipline and that state of mind gave me a lot of strength as I was able to push myself forward.

"Doing this has meant I have been able to do my own productions and work with a number of dancers.

"I do aim for perfection so it is nice when people give you compliments.

"I enjoy being a creative choreographer as when you work with a group of dancers it is like being part of a family rather than a team."

- Dance to the Music is at the Westlands Main Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday, February 22.

Tickets: VIP Tickets: £48 - includes meet & greet Band A Tickets: £32 Band B Tickets: £24

Book online at or call the box office on 01935 422884.