This week Pasha Kovalev, with his solo show, Life Through Dance, revisited the Malvern Theatres.
I had to go!
Sadly, it was an unaccompanied visit, as Hubs felt, having been last year, he’d had enough Pasha-love.
As if you could ever have enough!
Malvern Theatres is a vibrant complex of a cinema, theatre and The Forum (a large studio-type arena). It has pre and post West End productions and a good range of arts performances.It was packed on Friday, with the play Rebecca on in the main theatre and Pasha performing in the much less intimate Forum.
Although only a few rows back from the front, my seat wasn’t on a raked floor so I couldn’t see any feet. Not ideal viewing for a dance performance. Really wish I’d thought that through when I booked.
Quibbles aside, there was a palpable sense of excitement in the audience as the man himself appeared.
No compere this time, with Pasha holding things together instead. He did a great job. He’s a charming, intelligent and funny man. He even gave us a glimpse of the famous Strictly trophy.
To give the dancers time to change, we were shown artfully shot film clips of Pasha answering questions. To be honest, there was nothing very revealing or profound in these.
Question: How are costumes important?
Answer: Because they allow you to change character.
The last film was a montage of shots from a photo shoot. Strictly for die-hard fans. I sensed the bloke next to me cringe but then, he was only there to see his daughter perform with her dance school! I preferred last year’s Q&A with the audience, which felt more spontaneous and fun.
The slot where Pasha picked a couple of women from the audience to compete in a dance contest was repeated and just as hilarious. Wish I’d managed to buy a seat nearer the front. Can you imagine dancing cheek to cheek with Pasha?
Anya Garnis partnered him this year. Support came from Ryan Hammond, James Wilson, Marcella Solimeo and Leila Stewart. Anya was a revelation. A life of hard Russian dance training showed in every sublime move she made.
The stand out dances were a stunning Paso Doble, with some exciting cape work and clapping from the male dancers, and a fantastic number to Uptown Funk. The dance which brought me to tears was the Rumba. I dislike it on television and think it looks nothing more than a series of poses but live – wow! I found it very moving and yes, there were tears. Anya and Pasha’s was incredible. You could tell they’ve been dancing together for years; they knew one another’s bodies so well.
Credit must go to another Rumba (and I’m sorry, I didn’t take note of who danced it, possibly Ryan and Marcella). There was an amazing move where Marcella ran into Ryan’s arm, which then turned into a lift. I haven’t the technical language to describe it but it was jaw dropping.
One moan, there didn’t seem to be any programmes on sale this year, which is a shame, as it’s nice to have a souvenir. And also, as discussed on a Twitter feed, it would be great to have a running order of songs used. I knew lots of them but couldn’t place the artist.
On balance though, it was another entertaining night of great music, sparkly dresses and exciting dancing and it’s got my juices going for another series of Strictly in September. I’m so glad Pasha is to be part of it.
Georgia Hill writes rom-coms and historical fiction. Her strictly sparkly, Say it with Sequinsseries is available as an e-book and paperback. While I was Waiting, a poignant romance, set during WW1 is out in July.
You can follow Georgia Hill on Twitter @georgiawrites
And get all the latest news at www.georgiahill.co.uk