Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko

World Latin dance champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko rocked the ballroom dance world for decades racking up titles as both United States National champions and World Latin dance champions. Hence, the world of Latin dancesport hasn’t been the same since this dynamic duo started dancing and competing together in 2007. Not surprisingly, they have dominated both the United States National Latin and World Professional Latin championships ever since. They are five time World Professional Latin champions. As of 2015, Riccardo and Yulia are the top ranked Professional Latin dancers as listed in the rankings section by the World Dance Council. Read their complete biography below.

International Rumba

World Superstars Dance Festival 2014 – Rumba 

Rumba originated in 1930’s in Cuba and spread across the United States and Europe where it was wildly popular. It is one of the five International style Latin dances. There was an earlier version for faster music. Later, the music slowed and the another version of the rumba developed called the Bolero. Essentially, there are three styles of rumba, the International rumba from Europe, which is included in International Latin dance competitions along with cha cha, samba, jive and paso doble, American box rumba and the bolero. The rumba dance uses Cuban motion, sometimes also referred to as Latin motion, read more about the Rumba Dance here!

International Cha Cha

WDC World Professional Latin Championship 2014, semifinal – cha cha cha

Cha Cha Cha, sometimes referred to as just Cha Cha, originated in Cuba. It was brought to the United States and England by ballroom dancers in the 1950’s. It is a triple rhythm Latin dance similar to the older Latin dance, mambo. In Europe, it transformed into the current form, International Cha Cha and in the United States, American style cha cha. These eventually evolved into other styles of cha cha like club cha cha and the Cowboy cha cha that is popular in country western clubs. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s a new dance evolved from the mambo and cha cha, the salsa, read about Cha Cha here!

International Paso Doble

2014 USDC WDC World Series

Paso Doble is an International Latin dance genre that is one of the five dances included in International Latin Dancesport. This dance is based on bullfight music where the lead dancer is the matador and the follow dancer is the cape. It follows that the music has breaks in specific places and the dancers choreograph routines based on these breaks in the music similar to the breaks in the movement of the cape in a bullfight. In the United States, it is not considered a social dance and is only done in competitions but in other countries it is also danced socially.

International Jive

WDC World Professional Latin Championship 2014

Jive is a form of swing dance predominantly danced in Europe or in International Latin Dancesport. It originated along with the other swing dance in the 1930’s evolving from the original swing dance, the Lindy Hop. In recent years, there have been versions of jive called Modern Jive that have become popular, read more about the Jive dance here.

International Samba

Mannheim 2013, WDC Professional Latin, semifinal – samba

Samba originated in the late 1880’s in Brazil from African roots. There are many forms of samba including American style samba, Brazilian samba. The samba in this article features International Samba often used in dance sport competitions, read more about Samba here!

Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko Biography

(Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Yulia Zagoruychenko Bio

Yulia was born in Belgorod City, Russia and began  dancing at the age of seven. She spent four years dancing folk dancing before moving into other dance genres. She won her first Russian Junior National Championship at the age of twelve.  At sixteen,  she chose to pursue International Latin dance and partnered with Maxim Kozhevnikov. When Yulia was 21 years old, she moved to the United States. Yulia and Mazim became the United States National Latin Champions in 2007. After their win Maxim decided not compete leaving Yulia without a competition partner until she partnered with Riccardo Cocchi winning the U.S. National Championship from 2008 through 2014.

Riccardo Cocchi Bio

Riccardo knew from an early age he wanted to dance having been born in Terni, Italy of parents who were Italian ballroom dance coaches.  He competed for many years in amateur divisions with different partners. He started dancing with partner, Joanne Wilkinson,  from Australia in 1998 and continued dancing with her for ten years until 2007 when the partnership split.  Soon afterward, Riccardo had the opportunity to dance with Yulia. It was a match made in heaven becoming dance partners and winning the U.S. National Professional Latin Championship from 2008 through 2014.

(photo from Riccardo & Yulia’s Facebook page)

In an interview with Dance Sport Place, Yulia said that when she is getting ready to dance, she just wants to give love because she feels blessed to be at the top of her dance.  And Riccardo mentioned that when they get on the floor, he feels he must, ” take care of the lady on the floor” and says it is important for his partner, Yulia, to feel comfortable on the floor.

They won the World Professional Latin Championship in Bonn, Germany in 2010. In addition, they continued to win Latin dance championships consistently from that time until they retired. And they also won numerous United States National  Professional Latin Championships. They have also won Professional Latin Championships at the Dutch Open and German Open Championships.

Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko Dance Titles:

  • World Professional Latin Champions 2010, 2011, 2012
  • World Professional Showdance Champions
  • U.S. Professional Latin Champions 2008 – 2012
  • International Open Professional Latin Champions 2012
  • Asian Open Champions 2010-2012
  • Dutch Open Champions 2008-2012
  • Macau Open Champions 2010-2012
  • WDC Disney Paris Champions 2008-2011

International Latin Dance

International dance has two parts, Standard, which is sometimes called Ballroom or Modern, and Latin, according to the World Dance Council (WDC). Standard includes five dance genres: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep (read about the other dance styles here). Latin includes five dance genres: Cha-cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Meanwhile, the Latin style costumes and routines are sensual with more variation than in the Standard dances. While, three of the Latin dance genres are danced predominantly in a small area, the rumba, cha cha and jive, the other two are progressive moving counter-clockwise around the dance floor. The tempo ranges recommended for International Latin dance genres  by the Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center  in beats per minute (BPM’s) are:

Recommended Tempos:

  • Cha cha cha: 112-128 BPM’s
  • Samba: 96-104
  • Rumba: 96-112
  • Paso Doble: 112-124
  • Jive: 152-176


  • Wikipedia’s World Latin Dance Champions
  • Dance Sport Info
  • Tonya Plank Dance Blogger
  • Grinya Talent Agency
  • World Dance Council
  • World Dancesport Federation
  • RYDance.com
  • Youtube Interview Jan. 22, 2014 dancesportplace.com
  • Official Facebook Page Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko