Hi Luba! You’ve had quite an exceptional dancing career, what have been the highlights so far?
My biggest highlight so far has to be Strictly – it’s a dream come true and I still pinch myself every time I step out on that dance floor. But I am also in love with the theatre and have been lucky enough to perform in several shows in my career. Being live on stage is such a unique and special experience for me as a dancer – you don’t feel judged, you just feel free to be an artist.
Tell us about Forever X, how did it come about?
It’s been a long time ambition of mine to do something like this, and during Lockdown, I finally had time to really look into it. I found this amazing company who have worked with great people like Gemma Atkinson, so we decided to create something together. I would love to work on more projects like this, but this has been a great starting point.
You started making your own costumes from a young age – in order to compete in professional dance competitions – do you have any top tips for looking after our clothes at home?
The most important tip I can give is to always, always wash anything delicate by hand with cold water and don’t have it dry cleaned! Especially when it comes to unique, hand-made costumes that have embellishments etc. I made some big mistakes with this when I was younger so I am super careful now.
Tell us how you got into dance?
My brother is 10 years older than me and was already a dancer when I started showing interest. He would teach me steps at home, so by the age of four, I already knew all the basics and started doing competitions not long after that. Growing up in Russia, it’s very normal for children to dance from an early age. I was a pretty naughty kid, so my mum gave me this amazing skirt and I used to dance in it all day long – it kept me busy and out of trouble!
What do you think it is about Strictly Come Dancing that keeps bringing audiences back?
I think it’s just a really positive, wholesome show. The cast are one big family and I think it comes across how much we love what we do. The glamour, the entertainment – it’s all there and people love to be a part of it.
What are your top tips for staying healthy as we come out of lockdown?
In general, I think it’s important just to love the body you’re in and remember that you get back what you put into it, so try to be as healthy as possible. I follow a plant-based diet which I find works really well for me, but ultimately it’s about finding a balance, treating yourself once in a while – everything in moderation.
What is your current morning routine?
I always start my morning with a coffee – that’s essential. Even during Lockdown, I still got up and got ready for the day properly to help me feel motivated. I always do my hair and put on a little bit of makeup, get dressed and make a list of everything I want to achieve that day. Depending on what I’ve got going on – it might be off to rehearsals, or if not, I’ll do a home workout or go for a run.
You have worked incredibly hard to get where you are, looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
To be nicer to myself. To tell myself I’m doing a good job and not to be so self-critical. I think we could all be a little kinder to ourselves!