Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spotlight On...Riccardo Cocchi

By Catherine Brill, Fred Astaire Corporate Copywriter

What do you get when the former World Amateur Latin Champion dances with the current US Latin Champion? A hot, new Latin partnership!

Riccardo Cocchi, the newest member of the Fred Astaire National Dance Board, and Yulia Zagoruychenko, have set the dance world on fire since forming their partnership in the fall of 2007. They have just returned from the Blackpool Festival where they placed 2nd in the International Latin division, winning second place in all dances – a remarkable achievement.

“We just started in September and already rank second,” Riccardo noted, “Yulia is the best and we’re happy to be dancing together.” Their preparation for Blackpool was intense and, at times, “a nightmare” but it was all worth it when they got on the dance floor. “Everything was great once we started dancing,” Riccardo said.

Born in Terni, Italy, Riccardo has been dancing since he was six years old at his parents’ dance studio. He began to compete in ballroom at the age of eight but didn’t become a Latin dancer until about ten years ago, when he partnered with Joanne Wilkinson. Riccardo and Joanne were two times World Amateur Latin Champions, ten times Italian Amateur Champions, Professional Italian Latin Champions, and Professional Grand Finalists at the UK, British and World Championships.

After this dynamic duo ended their professional partnership in 2007, Riccardo took a break to wait for the right person to be available. His wait was worth it when he found Yulia, one of the most successful and talented dancers in the world today. Dancing together less than a year, Riccardo and Yulia have already come in 1st at many major dance competitions around the world, including the Holiday Dance Classic, the BDF Star Championships, the Philippine Star Ball, the Indonesian Open Dancesport Championships, the 8th Singapore Asian Open, and the Emerald Ball. At Blackpool, Riccardo and Yulia helped the USA win its first-ever Team Match!

Riccardo recently moved to New Jersey but don’t count on him to stay still for very long! Riccardo and Yulia plan on representing the US around the world, performing and competing at various prestigious events. Upcoming events include the US Nationals, the National Capital DanceSport Championships in Australia, the Manhattan Dancesport Championships, and the International Championships in London. When not busy competing, Riccardo will be available for coaching; he will be at the Fred Astaire studio in Indianapolis on August 2-4, along with world-acclaimed coach, choreographer, and former World Champion, Shirley Ballas.

Fred Astaire Franchise Developer Dan Rutherford was instrumental in introducing Riccardo to our chain and helping him with the paperwork necessary to move to the United States. Dan met him about four years ago and was immediately impressed by his talent. “I knew I wanted to train with him on a regular basis.”

The future for Riccardo and Yulia couldn’t be more promising. With their magical chemistry on the dance floor, they are well on their way to becoming the first World Latin Champions from the United States! We are proud to have someone of such immense talent with the Fred Astaire organization.

1 comment:

Auntie Pam said...

I witnessed Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko's "Hello Baby" routine at BYU last weekend and am still speechless - as far as I was concerned, the Top Professional couple ! Who on earth is the artist on this song "Hello Baby" they used for their Cha Cha ?