Pasha Kovalev

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Pasha Kovalev
Born Pavel Kovalyov (Павел Ковалёв)
(1980-01-19) 19 January 1980 (age 35)
Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Siberia, Soviet Union
Residence London, England, United Kingdom
New York City, United States
Ethnicity Russian
Occupation Latin and Ballroom dancer
Years active 2001–present
Height 5' 10" (178 cm)
Television Strictly Come Dancing (2011-)
Superstars of Dance (2009)
Dancing with the Stars (2008, 2010)
So You Think You Can Dance (2007-2014)
Partner(s) Rachel Riley (2014–)

Pavel "Pasha" Kovalev (Russian: Па́вел "Па́ша" Ковалёв; born 19 January 1980)[1] is a Russian professional Latin and Ballroom dancer.

Kovalev started dancing at the age of eight. In 2001, he moved to the United States with his professional dance partner Anya Garnis. In 2007, the couple competed on the third season of the American version of So You Think You Can Dance, and have since participated in all subsequent seasons as either choreographers or All-Star partners to the contestants.

In 2011, Kovalev moved to the United Kingdom to take part in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing as a professional dancer. He placed runner-up on both series 9 and 10 with celebrity partners Chelsee Healey and Kimberley Walsh, and later went on to win series 12 with his partner Caroline Flack.

Competitive career[edit]

Born in early 1980, Kovalev was raised by his mother and grew up with his brother. Until 2000 Kovalev (listed under his full name Pavel Kovalev) competed together with Anya Garnis (listed as Anna Garnis) in the Amateur Latin category in Russia.

After the move to the US Kovalev and Garnis turned professional and from 2002 started competing in the US, the United Kingdom and Canada. Their palmares includes being finalists in the US Open from 2002 to 2006.[2]

Television career[edit]

So You Think You Can Dance[edit]

In 2007, Kovalev and Garnis auditioned for season 3 of the US reality show So You Think You Can Dance.[3] Garnis made it to the Top 12 stage, whereas Kovalev made it all the way to the Semi-Finals. The pair have since participated in all following seasons as either choreographers or an All-Stars.

Season 3[edit]

Although originally he only attended the audition to support Anya Garnis, he was asked to audition as well and together with Garnis became one of the 20 dancers chosen to compete in Series 3 from June to August 2007. Kovalev was eliminated on 13 August 2007 in the last round before the final. He and Garnis both later took part in the So You Think You Can Dance Tour.

Season 4-11[edit]

During season 4 Kovalev assisted Mia Michaels on a contemporary routine, and he and his partner Anya Garnis choreographed a cha-cha routine performed by Courtney Galiano and Gev Manoukian.

During season 5, Kovalev and Garnis choreographed a samba for Evan Kasprzak and Randi Evans.

He and Garnis returned to So You Think You Can Dance in season 6 to lead the choreography rounds during the auditions, and later that season choreographed a jive for Russell Ferguson and Mollee Gray.

Kovalev was also an "All-Star" for both the seventh and eighth seasons of the show.

Kovalev returned to So You Think You Can Dance to choreograph a Cha-cha routine for contestants Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa on the third week of live shows of the ninth season of the show.

On July 16, 2014, Kovalev returned to show with Garnis to choreograph a Jive routine for contestants Bridget Whitman and Emilio Dosal during its eleventh season.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In September 2011, Kovalev joined the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing as the new professional dancer of its ninth series,[4] replacing Jared Murillo who had left after only one series with the BBC programme. He has since reached the finals three out of four occasions, more than any other professional dancer, finishing runner-up on his first and second series, and winning on his fourth. With his Series 12 partner Caroline Flack, Kovalev holds the record for the most maximum scores of 40 by any couple. The couple also became the first to score the maximum 40 from the judges in all three of their dances in the final, and also set the record for the longest consecutive run of 40 marks, with four, since their second dance in the semi-final had also scored 40.

Series Celebrity partner Place
9 Chelsee Healey 2nd
10 Kimberley Walsh 2nd
11 Rachel Riley 10th
12 Caroline Flack 1st
     Winner of the series
     Runner-up of the series
     Non finalist

Series 9[edit]

In the ninth series, his first, Kovalev was partnered with Waterloo Road actress, Chelsee Healey.[5] The two made it all the way to the finals, finishing as the runners-up to Harry Judd and his partner Aliona Vilani.

Green numbers indicate Chelsee & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard that week.

Series 10[edit]

For the tenth series it was revealed that he would be dancing with Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh. The two made it all the way to the finals, finishing as the runners-up to Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and his partner Flavia Cacace. By coming second, Pasha became the first male professional dancer to reach two consecutive Strictly finals, and the third professional dancer to do so overall after Lilia Kopylova and Aliona Vilani.

Green numbers indicate Kimberley & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard that week.

Series 11[edit]

For the eleventh series, Kovalev was partnered with Countdown & The Gadget Show co-presenter, Rachel Riley. The couple was eliminated during the fifth week of competition, despite receiving their highest score yet; they lost out in the dance-off against Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec, who went on to win Series 11.

Green numbers indicate Rachel & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard that week.

Series 12[edit]

For the twelfth series of the show in 2014, it was announced that Kovalev would partner former The Xtra Factor presenter, Caroline Flack. The couple earned the first perfect 40 of the series for their salsa in the semi-finals, followed by an additional 3 in the finals giving them a perfect total of 120 points, a feat unmatched in the history of the competition. On 20 December 2014, the couple was crowned the champions of the series.[6]

Green numbers indicate Caroline & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard that week.

Other appearances[edit]

In 2008, Kovalev and Garnis appeared on the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars in a results show performance, dancing to "Come On Over" by Jessica Simpson.

In early 2009 he again performed with Garnis on the international dance show Superstars of Dance, representing Russia in the duet category, but they were then replaced by another couple in the January 19th episode.

In early 2010, the pair guest-choreographed for the third season of So You Think You Can Dance Australia.

On November 18th, 2011, Kovalev took part in a Strictly BBC Newsreaders programme benefiting Children in Need, where he partnered with newsreader Emily Maitlis for a group dance.[7]

On January 4th, 2013, Kovalev guest starred in the music video of "One Day I'll Fly Away", the lead single of Centre Stage, his series 10 partner Kimberley Walsh's first solo album. Filming occurred on January 4, 2013 at Pinewood Studios,[8] and the music video premiered on January 17, 2013.[8] It features Walsh performing the song in different settings, until she is joined by Kovalev and they perform a ballet number.[9]

In March 2013, ahead of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day 2013, comedian Miranda Hart took part in a Strictly Extravaganza, where she attempted to dance ballroom with Kovalev, as one of her five Miranda's Mad March challenges.

Sport Relief Does Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

On March 23rd, 2012, Kovalev and his Strictly Series 9 partner Chelsee Healey took part in the Sport Relief 2012 Strictly Come Dancing Underwater special, in aid of Sport Relief, competing against winners Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani. After receiving even scores from the judges, the pair won the show due to head judge Len Goodman breaking the tie in their favour.

In 2014, during a Paralympian special for Sport Relief 2014, Kovalev was partnered with Paralympic gold medalist Hannah Cockroft. After performing a group dance with the other contestants, the couple was declared the winners by the judges.[10]

Year Celebrity partner Place
2012 Chelsee Healey Winners
2014 Hannah Cockroft Winners
     Winner of the special

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Specials[edit]

In December 2012, Kovalev and Healey were partnered again for a Strictly Allstar group dance during the 2012 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.

In December 2013, Kovalev was partnered with West End star Elaine Paige during the 2013 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.[11] The couple received a total of 39 points for their Cha-Cha, the highest score of the night, with only judge Len Goodman giving them a 9. They ultimately lost to comedian Rufus Hound.

  • Green numbers indicate the couple was at the top of the leaderboard.

Stage work[edit]

Burn the Floor[edit]

In August 2009, Kovalev and his partner Garnis joined the cast of Jason Gilkison's production Burn the Floor,[12] one of the leading ballroom based shows in the world, during its stint on Broadway. The pair succeed departing Dancing with the Stars performers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff.

Later in 2010, the pair joined the touring company of the show from September 7th to November 28th.[13] Kovalev left the show in the summer of 2011 to join the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.[14]


In 2007, Kovalev headlined the So You Think You Can Dance Season 3 Live Tour, along with the other top 10 contestants, visiting 50 cities in the United States.[15]

Kovalev took part in the Strictly Come Dancing Live! 2012 Tour with his celebrity partner Chelsee Healey from January 20 to February 26, and was partnered with Series 10 finalist Dani Harmer on the 2013 Tour,[16][17] starting January 18, 2013.[18]

Kovalev formed a new professional partnership with fellow Strictly Pro Katya Virshilas. With their show "An evening with Katya and Pasha" they toured the UK from March 27 to May 6, 2012.[19]

Starting March 2015, he will be performing throughout Britain, with original partner Anya Garnis as his special guest, on his Life Through Dance Tour.

Personal life[edit]

In September 2014, Kovalev and his Strictly Come Dancing series 11 partner Rachel Riley announced they were dating.[20]


  1. ^ "【俄罗斯】外国男DANCER★Pasha Kovalev★_handsome_boy吧_百度贴吧". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  2. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  3. ^ "FOX Broadcasting Company - So You Think You Can Dance on FOX - Season 9 - Official Site". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  4. ^ Pasha Kovalev (1970-01-01). "Strictly Come Dancing 2011 - Professionals - Pasha Kovalev". BBC. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  5. ^ Chelsee Healey (1970-01-01). "Strictly Come Dancing 2011 - Celebrities - Chelsee Healey". BBC. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing: newsreaders perform for Children in Need special". Telegraph. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  8. ^ a b "Move over Cheryl: Kimberley Walsh takes Centre Stage as she unveils debut solo music video for One Day I'll Fly Away". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ Jeffries, Mark (January 17, 2013). "First look at Kimberley Walsh's music video for One Day I'll Fly Away!". Daily Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Sport Relief does Strictly". Wheelchair Dance Support Association (UK). Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Media Centre - Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special line-up confirmed". BBC. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  12. ^ Garnis and Kovalev Will Burn the Floor on Broadway Playbill. 2009-08-18.
  13. ^ Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev Will Be Part of Burn the Floor Tour Playbill. 2010-08-09.
  14. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2011: Pasha Kovalev replaces Jared Murillo Daily Mirror. 2011-06-15.
  15. ^ "2007 Tour". Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  16. ^ "Celebrity Dancers 2013 – Strictly Come Dancing – The Live TourStrictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour". 29 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  17. ^ "Professional Dancers 2013 – Strictly Come Dancing – The Live TourStrictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour". 9 December 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  18. ^ "Tour Dates 2013 – Strictly Come Dancing – The Live TourStrictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour". Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  19. ^ "HOME". katyaandpasha. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  20. ^ "Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev have confirmed that they are a couple -". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Matt Baker & Aliona Vilani
Strictly Come Dancing Runner-Up
(with partner Chelsee Healey)

Series 9 (2011)
Succeeded by
Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev
Denise van Outen & James Jordan
Preceded by
Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev
Strictly Come Dancing Runner-Up
(with partner Kimberley Walsh)

Series 10 (2012)
Succeeded by
Susanna Reid & Kevin Clifton
Natalie Gumede & Artem Chigvintsev
Preceded by
Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec
Strictly Come Dancing Champion
(with partner Caroline Flack)

Series 12 (2014)
Succeeded by