Pasha Kovalev

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Pasha Kovalev
Born Pavel Kovalyov (Павел Ковалёв)
Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Siberia, Soviet Union
Residence
Occupation Latin and Ballroom dancer
Years active 2001–present
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 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–present)
Website pashakovalev.co.uk

Pavel "Pasha" Kovalev (Russian: Па́вел "Па́ша" Ковалёв) is a Russian professional Latin and ballroom dancer.

Kovalev started dancing at the age of eight, and in 2001, moved to the United States with his professional dance partner Anya Garnis.[1] In 2007, the couple competed on the third season of the American version of So You Think You Can Dance,[2] and have since participated in the eight 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.[3] After finishing runner-up on both the ninth and tenth series with celebrity partners Chelsee Healey and Kimberley Walsh,[4][5] he went on to win series twelve with his partner Caroline Flack.[6] Bar Anton Du Beke and Brendan Cole, who have appeared on every series, he is the longest serving professional dancer on the show

Early life and competitive career[edit]

Born in early 1980, Kovalev was raised by his mother and grew up with his brother. He began dancing at the age of eight, and until 2000, he competed with his partner Anya Garnis in the Amateur Latin category in Russia.[1]

After the move to the U.S. Kovalev and Garnis turned professional and from 2002 started competing in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Their competitive achievements include being finalists in the US Open from 2002 to 2006.[2][7]

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.[8] 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 as All-Stars.

Season 3: Contestant[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 the show's third season from June to August 2007.[2]

After making it all the way to the Top 6, Kovalev was eliminated on August 13, in the last round before the final, losing out to the two remaining males, contemporary dancers Danny Tidwell and Neil Haskell. Sabra Johnson, the remaining female contemporary dancer, went on to win the competition. Kovalev and Garnis both later took part in the So You Think You Can Dance Tour.

Seasons 4–11: Choreographer[edit]

On 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.

On Season 5, Kovalev and Garnis choreographed a Samba for Evan Kasprzak and Randi Evans.

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

Kovalev was announced as an "All-Star" for both Season 7 and Season 8 of the show, performing all the Latin and Ballroom dances with the female finalists, including winners Lauren Froderman and Melanie Moore.

For Season 9, the following year, he returned to choreograph a Cha-cha routine for contestants Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa on the third week of live shows.

Finally, on 16 July 2014, Kovalev returned with Garnis to choreograph a new Jive routine for contestants Bridget Whitman and Emilio Dosal during Season 11.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In September 2011, Kovalev joined BBC's Strictly Come Dancing as the new professional dancer of its ninth series,[3] replacing Jared Murillo who had left after only one series with the BBC programme. He has since reached the finals three out of five series, finishing runner-up on his first and second series, and winning on his fourth.

Statistics and Strictly records[edit]

As a Strictly professional dancer, Kovalev holds the record for most tens ever awarded, with a total of 61, and the record for most perfect scores, with a total of 8. He is also the first dancer to reach the finals three times, as the runner up of Series 9 and 10, and the winner of Series 12.

Along with his Series 12 partner Caroline Flack, Kovalev holds the record for most maximum scores of 40, by any couple, and the record for the longest consecutive run of perfect scores, after scoring a 40 for each of their last four dances. The couple is also the first to receive a perfect score for all three of their dances in the final.

Series Celebrity partner Dances Highest Lowest 10s 40s Score average Place
9 Chelsee Healey 16 40 27 18 1 35.25 2nd
10 Kimberley Walsh 15 40 26 20 3 34.60 2nd
11 Rachel Riley 6 30 20 0 0 25.33 11th
12 Caroline Flack 16 40 27 23 4 35.13 1st
13 Carol Kirkwood 7 22 13 0 0 18.00 10th
14 Naga Munchetty 4 25 23 0 0 23.75 12th
15 Chizzy Akudolu 2 22 16 0 0 19.00 15th
TOTAL N/A 66 40 13 61 8 27.29 N/A

Key

     Winner of the series
     Runner-up of the series
     Non finalist
     First elimination of the series
     Participating

Kovalev has received the highest score in Strictly history for seven of the show's fifteen dance styles and is the only Strictly professional dancer to receive the perfect score for the Paso Doble and the first to receive it for the Tango. Furthermore, he has received a ten from at least one of the judges for all of the show's dance styles, except the Waltz and Samba.

He holds the record for the highest score ever awarded to the Paso Doble and the Rumba, with Series 9 partner Chelsee Healey; to the Charleston and the Tango, with Series 10 partner Kimberley Walsh; and to the Salsa, the Cha Cha Cha, the Charleston and the Showdance, with Series 12 partner Caroline Flack. Kovalev and Walsh also received the only perfect score for the Series 10 Fusion dance, dancing to a mashup of the Cha Cha Cha and the Tango.

Highest and lowest scoring performances per dance

  • Scores earned on Christmas or any other specials are not included;
  • Green and Red numbers indicate the scores that were the best and worst per dance in Strictly history;
  • Kovalev received an additional perfect score (40) for a Fusion dance of the Cha Cha Cha and Tango with Series 10 partner Kimberley Walsh.

Number of tens received per dance between series 9 and 14

  • 10s earned on Christmas or any other specials are not included;
  • Kovalev received 4 additional 10s for a Fusion dance of the Cha Cha Cha and Tango with Series 10 partner Kimberley Walsh.

All marks received per dance between series 9 and 14

  • Marks earned on Christmas or any other specials are not included;
  • * This style of dance was introduced for one series only and was performed as a mashup of the Cha Cha Cha and Tango on Week 10 of Series 10, receiving a perfect score from the judges.

Series 9: Chelsee Healey[edit]

In the ninth series, his first, Kovalev was partnered with Waterloo Road actress, Chelsee Healey.[9]

The couple received the only perfect score ever awarded for the Paso Doble and made it all the way to the finals, finishing as runners-up to Harry Judd and his partner Aliona Vilani.[4]

  • Green number indicates Chelsee & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard.

Series 10: Kimberley Walsh[edit]

For the tenth series it was revealed that he would be dancing with Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh.[10]

The couple received the first perfect score ever awarded for the Tango and made it all the way to the finals, finishing as the runners-up to Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and his partner Flavia Cacace.[5]

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 number indicates Kimberley & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard

Series 11: Rachel Riley[edit]

For the eleventh series, Kovalev was partnered with Countdown & The Gadget Show co-presenter, Rachel Riley.[11]

During their time at the competition, the couple were never at the top or bottom of the leaderboard, and on Week 5, despite receiving their highest score of the series, they were eliminated after losing out in the dance-off to Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec.[12] That couple went on to win Series 11.[13]

Series 12: Caroline Flack[edit]

For the twelfth series of the show in 2014, it was announced that Kovalev would partner former The Xtra Factor presenter, Caroline Flack.[14]

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 were crowned the champions of the series.[6]

As the reigning Strictly champions, The couple performed their Salsa routine a second time during the launch show of Series 13.[15]

  • Green number indicates Caroline & Pasha were at the top of the leaderboard

Series 13: Carol Kirkwood[edit]

For the Thirteenth series of the show in 2015, Kovalev returned as the reigning Strictly champion, and was paired up with BBC Breakfast weather presenter Carol Kirkwood.[16]

Although the couple regularly landed at the bottom of the leaderboard, they successfully made it to seven weeks without ever being in the bottom two. Kirkwood also set a record for joint lowest scoring Rumba on the show, tied with previous contestant Fiona Phillips, with just thirteen points out of a possible forty. On their seventh and final week, they were eliminated by EastEnders's Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton in the dance off.[17] That couple went on to become runners-up in that series losing to Jay McGuiness from The Wanted and Aliona Vilani

  • Red number indicates Carol & Pasha were at the bottom of the leaderboard

Series 14: Naga Munchetty[edit]

For series fourteen Kovalev was partnered with BBC news presenter Naga Munchetty. They were eliminated in week 4 against Anastacia and Brendan Cole in unanimous decision by the judges. Anastacia and Brendan were later eliminated in Week 6 against Daisy Lowe and Aljaž Skorjanec.

Series 15: Chizzy Akudolu[edit]

For series fifteen Kovalev was paired with British actress Chizzy Akudolu. They were the first couple eliminated after losing to Brian Conley and Amy Dowden in the first dance-off of the series, on 1 October 2017.[18]

Other television 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 18 November 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.[19]

On 4 January 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 4 January 2013 at Pinewood Studios, and the music video premiered on 17 January 2013. It features Walsh performing the song in different settings, until she is joined by Kovalev and they perform a ballet number.[20]

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.[21]

Sport Relief Does Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

On 23 March 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.[22]

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.[23]

Year Celebrity partner Place
2012 Chelsee Healey Winners
2014 Hannah Cockroft Winners

Key

     Winner of the special
     Non winner
     Participating

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.[24]

In December 2013, Kovalev was partnered with West End star Elaine Paige during the 2013 Strictly Christmas Special.[25] 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 after a vote by the studio audience.[26]

In December 2015, the full lineup of the 2015 Christmas special featured six returning contestants, including four former champions, in a change to recent tradition.[27] Kovalev was partnered with television and radio presenter Lisa Snowdon, who finished in third place in the sixth series of the show.[28] The pair earned 37 points from the judges for a Quickstep to "Let It Snow!", but eventually lost to series 9 winner Harry Judd.[29]

The celebrity lineup of the 2016 Christmas special, which like the previous year, featured six returning contestants, was announced on 7 November 2016.[30] Kovalev was partnered with New Zealand writer and actress Pamela Stephenson, and danced the Cha-Cha to "Jump" from the "Love Actually" soundtrack.[31] The pair earned 39 points from the judges but lost to comedian Melvin Odoom.[32]

The full line-up of the 2017 Christmas special, which features six returning contestants and their professional partners, was announced on 6 November 2017.[33] Kovalev was partnered with ex-partner and Series 10 runner-up Kimberley Walsh and danced the Jive to "Run Rudolph Run". The pair earned 39 points from the judges, the highest score of the night, but lost to newscaster Katie Derham.[34]


Year Celebrity partner Place
2013 Elaine Paige Non winner
2015 Lisa Snowdon Non winner
2016 Pamela Stephenson Non winner
2017 Kimberley Walsh Non winner

Key

     Winner of the special
     Non winner
     Participating

Performances and judges' scores

  • Green number indicates the couple was at the top of the judges' leaderboard.

Strictly Come Dancing Children in Need Specials[edit]

In 2016, Kovalev was partnered with Olympic champion rower Helen Glover for the Strictly Come Dancing Children in Need Strictly Special, taking place on 18 November.[35][36]

Year Celebrity partner Place
2016 Helen Glover Non-winner

Key

     Winner of the special
     Non winner
     Participating

Personal life[edit]

Kovalev and professional partner Anya Garnis started dating as teenagers in the late 1990s, after meeting in dance class in Siberia.[37] In 2001, the couple moved to the United States together.[1] Kovalev has been dating his former Strictly partner Rachel Riley since 2014, and the couple now live together in London.[38]

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, one of the leading ballroom based shows in the world, during its stint on Broadway.[39] The pair succeed departing Dancing with the Stars performers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff.[40]

Later in 2010, the pair joined the touring company of the show from September 7 to November 28.[41] Kovalev left the show in the summer of 2011 to join the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.[42]

Live tours[edit]

2007: So You Think You Can Dance Live tour[edit]

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.[43]

Although eliminated in the Top 12 stage of the competition, his professional partner Anya Garnis was invited to take part as an alternate performer. The pair were able to perform together on the tour due to dancer Lacey Schwimmer needing a replacement in some of her routines because of an injury to her meniscus.

2012-2013: Strictly Come Dancing Live![edit]

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,[44][45] starting January 18, 2013.[46]

He didn't take part in the 2014 Tour with partner Rachel Riley, and the following year, he opted to focus on his own tour, with Tristan MacManus stepping in to partner with Caroline Flack during the 2015 Tour.

2012-2014: An evening with Katya and Pasha[edit]

Kovalev formed a new professional partnership with fellow Strictly professional Katya Virshilas. With their show An evening with Katya and Pasha they toured the UK from March 27 to May 6, 2012.[47]

The couple reprised the tour in 2013,[2] and finally in 2014.[48]

2015: Life Through Dance[edit]

Beginning March 2015, Kovalev performed throughout Britain, with original partner Anya Garnis as his special guest, on his Life Through Dance Tour.[49]

2016: It's All About You[edit]

Kovalev announced his 2016 It's All About You tour, including 74 shows from March 18 to June 12.[50] Professional partner Anya Garnis guest starred once again.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pasha Kovalev BBC Biography BBC One
  2. ^ a b c d Pasha Kovalev on his journey from Siberia to Strictly Come Dancing Liverpool Echo 22/03/13.
  3. ^ a b Pasha Kovalev (2011-01-02). "Strictly Come Dancing 2011: Pasha Kovalev replaces Jared Murillo". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  4. ^ a b McFly's Harry Judd wins Strictly Come Dancing The Telegraph, 18 December 2011
  5. ^ a b Girls Aloud star finishes runner up Mirror Online, 24 December 2012
  6. ^ a b Watch: Caroline Flack crowned Strictly champion The Telegraph, 21 December 2014
  7. ^ "DancesportInfo.net". DancesportInfo.net. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  8. ^ "FOX Broadcasting Company - So You Think You Can Dance on FOX - Season 9 - Official Site". Fox.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  9. ^ Chelsee Healey (2011). "Strictly Come Dancing 2011 - Celebrities - Chelsee Healey". BBC. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2012: Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev in training The Telegraph, 21 September 2012
  11. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2013: From Abbey and Aljaz to Ben and Kristina, how will the pairings fare? Metro, 7 September 2013
  12. ^ Rachel Riley sashays off Strictly Come Dancing after losing out to Abbey Clancy in dance-off Metro,, 3 November 2013
  13. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2013: The final – did Abbey Clancy deserve to win? Metro 21 December 2013
  14. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2014 launch show recap: Meet celeb contestants and partners Mirror Online, 7 September 2014
  15. ^ Caroline Flack sexes up Strictly Come Dancing as she returns for winning performance on launch night Mirror Online, 5 September 2015
  16. ^ Strictly Come Dancing RECAP as the dance partners were announced on launch night Mirror Online, 5 September 2015
  17. ^ Strictly Come Dancing says goodbye to Carol Kirkwood as she and Pasha Kovalev are eliminated Mirror Online, 8 November 2015
  18. ^ Chizzy Akudolu becomes the first celebrity hoofer sent home The Telegraph, 2 October 2017
  19. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing: newsreaders perform for Children in Need special". Telegraph. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Jeffries, Mark (17 January 2013). "First look at Kimberley Walsh's music video for One Day I'll Fly Away!". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Dirty Dancing Miranda Hart hops to it at Manchester town hall for Comic Relief Manchester Evening News 13 March 2013.
  22. ^ Sport Relief 2012: Harry Judd causes Twitter frenzy with underwater Strictly Metro 23 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Sport Relief does Strictly". Wheelchair Dance Support Association (UK). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Chelsee Healey Prepares For 'Strictly Come Dancing' Return The Huffington Post (UK) 27 November 2012.
  25. ^ "Media Centre - Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special line-up confirmed". BBC. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  26. ^ Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special verdict Daily Mirror 25 December 2013.
  27. ^ Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special contestants revealed Daily Mirror 19 November 2015.
  28. ^ Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2015 celebrity line-up revealed BBC Press Release 19 November 2015.
  29. ^ Strictly Come Dancing' Christmas Special: Harry Judd Crowned Winner The Huffington Post UK 25 December 2015.
  30. ^ "Strictly Christmas Special line-up revealed - Media Centre". BBC. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016. 
  31. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2016 Christmas special photos and celebrity dances revealed Radio times 2 December 2016.
  32. ^ Surprise champion Melvin Odoom wins the Strictly Come Dancing 2016 Christmas special Radio times 25 December 2016.
  33. ^ "BBC Blogs - Strictly Come Dancing - Strictly Christmas line-up announced". BBC. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2017. 
  34. ^ 'Strictly Come Dancing' Christmas Special 2017 Crowns Katie Derham Champion HuffPost 25/12/2017.
  35. ^ "Team GB Olympic athletes to join Strictly pros for Children in Need special". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  36. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing Children in Need special will star team GB Olympic athletes". Telegraph. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  37. ^ Rachel Riley's marriage breakdown 'had nothing to do with Strictly Come Dancing' Daily Mirror 30/11/13.
  38. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing curse won't ruin Rachel Riley relationship says Pasha Kovalev". Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  39. ^ Star Dancers Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev to Join Burn the Floor Broadway.com. 2009-08-04.
  40. ^ Garnis and Kovalev Will Burn the Floor on Broadway Playbill. 2009-08-18.
  41. ^ Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev Will Be Part of Burn the Floor Tour Playbill. 2010-08-09.
  42. ^ Strictly Come Dancing 2011: Pasha Kovalev replaces Jared Murillo Daily Mirror. 2011-06-15.
  43. ^ "2007 Tour". Fox.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  44. ^ "Celebrity Dancers 2013 – Strictly Come Dancing – The Live TourStrictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour". Strictlycomedancinglive.com. 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 1 December 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  45. ^ "Professional Dancers 2013 – Strictly Come Dancing – The Live TourStrictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour". Strictlycomedancinglive.com. 9 December 2012. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  46. ^ "Tour Dates 2013 – Strictly Come Dancing – The Live TourStrictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour". Strictlycomedancinglive.com. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  47. ^ "HOME". katyaandpasha. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  48. ^ Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Virshilas on her latest tour with Pasha Kovalev Liverpool Echo 28/04/14.
  49. ^ Pasha Kovalev talks Strictly and his new live show Liverpool Echo 25/03/15.
  50. ^ It's All About You Tour Dates Official Website Tour Schedule

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec
Strictly Come Dancing Champion
(with partner Caroline Flack)

Series 12 (2014)
Succeeded by
Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani
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
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