Pasha Kovalev, 38
eighth year on Strictly, runner-up in 2011 and 2012, and champion with Caroline Flack in 2014
what’s the best thing about working with ashley?
It makes a big difference, when you’re working with someone, if you like them on a personal level. We joke around and never fight, so it’s really good.
any pre-show rituals?
On the dance floor, in that 10-20 seconds before the music starts, I tell Ashley that we’re getting into our ‘Pashley’ bubble and that it’s just her, me and the music, and that nothing else exists for the next 90 seconds.
You won the 2014 series with Tv presenter Caroline Flack. How would it feel to lift the glitterball trophy again?
All the professionals on Strictly grew up competing so to get something to show for it at the end of the series is amazing. All Ashley and I can do is do one dance at a time and try to do it the best we can. But I wouldn’t say no to another trophy!
what’s been your favourite dance so far this series?
If the routine comes out better than it did in rehearsals, that’s the best feeling. The Dirty Dancing lift in Movie Week worked every time in training but, in a dress rehearsal, Ashley’s dress was so slippery, I couldn’t retain my grip on her hips. We had to modify her dress so that there was something to hold on to. We were hoping it would work when we performed it live and luckily it did! it’s almost Christmas – what gift would you buy for ashley? I’d buy Ashley something nice, soft and comfortable to wear, maybe a cuddly jumper because it’s getting cold now. Ashley’s from sunny Arizona in America, so we have to keep her warm!
do the pro dancers arrange a Christmas get-together?
All the professionals do Secret Santa. It’s interesting finding out what people think you’d like. Sometimes you’re like, ‘Erm, that’s great, thank you.’ Other times it’s something you’ll keep. I’ve had my share of
good and… not so good!
Strictly sensational: Pasha and Caroline Flack won in 2014