Pasha Kovalev and Graziano Di Prima talk Strictly costume malfunctions

The Greatest Dancer: Pasha Kovalev says goodbye to Strictly

After meeting on the set of Strictly Come Dancing, Pasha Kovalev, 43, and Graziano Di Prima, 28, have teamed up once again to create pioneering new dance musical, La Bamba!.

Graziano is taking a behind-the-scenes job as choreographer alongside his wife Giada Lini, while Pasha has landed the starring role of Ricardo.

However, despite being well-versed in performing in front of huge audiences on the BBC show, in an exclusive interview with, the professional dancers revealed that live theatre is just as nerve-wracking as live TV, because “anything can happen”.

Pasha, who quit Strictly in 2018, admitted that a key part of his and Graziano’s job is to cover up any mistakes, including disastrous wardrobe malfunctions, by “making it look like it was supposed to happen”.

The star, who shares two young children with Countdown presenter wife Rachel Riley, 37, explained: “I would say it’s stressful, but you have a high level of adrenaline running through your veins.

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“Of course, it makes you a little bit more upbeat, but anything can happen either during live TV, or during a live show.

“Our job as professionals is to, well, first of all, make sure it’s not happening, but if it is happening, make sure you make it look like it’s supposed to happen.

“When you have that mentality in mind, anything you do on stage or in front of the camera becomes just like a game, something fun to do.

“You know what you’re supposed to do, but if something else happened, like on TV for example, your buttons come undone and your trousers are falling down, or one of the lady’s custom things flies off, you have to pretend nothing happened and dance like you meant to dance that entire routine holding a bra on their shoulder!

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“It happens, but if people don’t notice it, that’s professional.”

Reflecting on their Strictly costume mishap memories in the joint interview, Graziano exclaimed: “Trust me, every year, every season, every time, something happens.

“I totally agree with Pasha actually, when you do a show in the theatre and when you do live TV, it is very similar because while doing the show, you’ve got the audience, you need to make it work.

“And there’s the skill if something happened, there’s a little game, especially when you’re dancing with another person, so you need to be ready for anything.”

Pasha then recalled: “Not going into details, but it happens. In my case, over my eight years on Strictly, with every single celebrity at least once during the series, something happens during the live show which you try to cover up or try to make it look like it was supposed to be that way.

“And the key there, I think, and the same applies to live theatre, if you have trust with who you’re working with, with your partner, then even if something goes wrong, they can say, ‘okay, I know Pasha will take care of it’.

“And that’s the best thing for me because it’s, ‘Okay, relax. I’ll fix it, we‘re done, now you know where we are?’ ‘Yes, Sir’, Let’s go!”

Tickets for La Bamba! are now on sale now from, with the show opening at Curve, Leicester on August 1, before continuing on a UK tour at various theatres across the country until December 2023.

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