Childhood & Early Life
Kristina Rihanoff was born in Vladivostok, Russia, on September 22, 1977. Her father was a music composer so it is no wonder that she developed an interest in dance at a young age of five. She began her dance training at the age of five and she participated in her first dance competition at the age of seven. The Latin dance form inspired her the most.
Her parents were divorced when she was quite young and she went on to live with her mother. She was only fifteen years old when she started working as a dance instructor on a part time basis to help her family financially.
Though she was busy learning dance and also working part time, she was keen to finish her studies. So after graduating from high school, she went on to study at the Modern Humanitarian Academy’s St. Petersburg branch. She has a Master’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality.
Kristina Rihanoff was only 21 when she was invited to US to compete in a dance competition. In 2001, she settled in Seattle, Washington and decided to focus on professional dance competitions. In order to improve her chances of winning the competitions, she learned new dance forms including, American rhythm, salsa, and theatre style dance.
She competed in several competitions across US and also choreographed dancing shows in Hong Kong, Japan, and China. In 2003, she participated in the prestigious Open to the World, Mambo Championship and came second.
In 2004, she participated again in the competition and came in second again. In the same year, she represented the US in the World Exhibition held at the Blackpool Dance Festival. She and her partner came in second and from then onwards she won or was a runner up in numerous dance competitions.
In 2004, she was crowned the winner of the American Rhythm RS National Champions. She was the winner of the South African National Latin Champions in 2006.
After winning numerous dance championships and establishing herself as a serious dance competitor, Kristina Rihanoff retired from dance competitions in 2007. The very same year she became a part of the hit US television show ‘Dancing with the Stars’. The show made her quite popular with audiences all over the world.
Her choreographing and dancing skills were noticed and she was invited to take part in ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ a very popular British dancing show. She joined the show in 2008 and soon the world became a fan of her dancing moves. Her partner for the show was John Sergeant, who is a well-known political broadcaster.
In 2009, she was part of the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Live Tour. The show helped propel her career to new heights. She choreographed ‘Dancing on Wheels,’ which was a popular BBC show. It was the first time that she choreographed for dancers in wheelchairs and she found the whole experience quite humbling and inspiring.
In 2009, she was again part of the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. However, that was not the only show that she was doing that year. She was the Celebrity Ambassador for a show called, ‘St. Tropez Perfect Legs Tanning.’ The show helped her get a commercial endorsement.
In 2010, she was also part of numerous shows including, ‘Hairy Bikers Cook Off,’ ‘Five Live,’ ‘Mastermind,’ ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show,’ ‘Pride of Britain,’ and ‘British Fashion Awards.’
In 2010, Kristina Rihanoff choreographed the National Aviva commercial that starred Paul Whitehouse. The commercial was so successful that it ran for several years.
In 2012, after finishing the Live Tour for ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ Kristina Rihanoff became part of the ‘Dance to the Music’ tour. Dave Arch, Kara Tointon, and Artem Chigvintsev are some of the professional dancers who took part in this sold out tour.
2013 was another great year for her career, because she got a chance to star in ‘Burn the Floor’, a West End show that was held at the Shaftesbury theatre.
She left the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ show in 2015 after partnering with John Sergeant, Simon Webbe, Jason Donovan, Ben Cohen, Joe Calzaghe, Colin Salmon, Jimi Mistry, and Daniel O’Donnell.
In 2015, her autobiography titled, ‘Dancing out of Darkness,’ was released.
After leaving ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ Kristina Rihanoff took part in ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in 2016.
In 2018, she was the directed, produced, and choreographed ‘Dance to the Music’ show. The show was a big hit