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Robin Windsor’s Strictly partner says he was ‘destroyed’ after crushing career blow

Windsor left ‘Strictly’ in 2013 due to a back injury

Ellie Muir
Wednesday 21 February 2024 09:41 GMT
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Strictly Come Dancing's Robin Windsor's best moments

Robin Windsor’s long-time dance partner Kristina Rihanoff has recalled how the late dancer was “destroyed” when he was forced to leave Strictly Come Dancing.

Ballroom dancer Windsor has died aged 44, it was announced on Tuesday (20 February). He was best known for his time as a professional on Strictly: he joined the BBC competition in 2010 and participated in four series until 2013.

He was ultimately forced to step down from the dancing show when faced with a recurring back injury due to a slipped disc.

Rihanoff has now reflected on that time and said that Windsor “was absolutely destroyed when he was dropped from Strictly”.

She said Windsor dealt with “excruciating back pain”, which meant he was out of work for prolonged periods.

“While we went on to do many shows tours gigs & appearances together he was struggling more and more with instability of work and excruciating back pain because of the injury he had suffered during Strictly,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

“Sadly, us dancers, always neglect our health because we always after the next gig, the next job and he just couldn’t look after his injury properly until there was nothing left to do but have an operation which also put him out of work for quite some time,” she said.

“Robin wasn’t just my dance partner, he was a friend and together we shared endless experiences from our careers highlights to hitting Rockbottom of rejection,” Rihanoff continued.

The dancers together in 2012

She paid tribute to Windsor by saying she was blown away by his “kindness, lighthearted personality and amazing loyalty” when they were first partnered on Strictly.

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“He had stood by me through many rough times during Strictly for which I am deeply grateful for as there was no one else to lean on. He always found the way to bring my spirit up.”

Speaking about his decision to withdraw from Strictly in 2014, Windsor, who started dancing at the age of three, said: “I couldn’t risk going ahead. It was a heartbreaking decision but I had no choice.”

He said that, should he have suffered the slipped disc while he was dancing, he “could have ended up with permanent nerve damage and been in a wheelchair”.

The dancers appearing in ‘Burn The Floor’, 2013

Windsor’s celebrity partners on Strictly included Patsy Kensit, former EastEnders star Anita Dobson, Lisa Riley and Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden. His highest placing came with actor Riley, when the pair finished fifth in 2012.

He also danced with BBC DJ Sara Cox, This Morning’s Alison Hammond and Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid in various Strictly Christmas specials.

He and fellow professional partner Rihanoff danced together on the Strictly live tours and the West End dance show Burn the Floor.

News of Windsor’s death was first announced by the dance company he helped founder, Burn the Floor, who said the dancer had “tragically passed away”.

Burn the Floor, which is one of the leading ballroom-based shows in the world, wrote on Facebook: “The BTF family has lost one of its founding members, Robin ‘Bobby’ Windsor – who has tragically passed away.

Windsor was remembered by partner Rihanoff as kind, loyal, and having a lighthearted personality

“A BTF journeyman, he danced with us for 20 years – including Broadway, the West End and all our crazy adventures around the world.”

Sisco Entertainment, which represented Windsor in various areas of theatre and corporate entertainment, described his work as “an embodiment of passion, grace and sheer talent. His extraordinary ability to express emotion through movement captivated audiences, leaving them spellbound with every step.

“Beyond his impeccable dancing, Robin’s vibrant spirit lit up the room, infusing rehearsals and performances with infectious energy and warmth. His laughter was contagious, his kindness boundless.

Windsor’s cause of death has not been announced.

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