World Pro Latin Champions 2015

I have already told you about the World Pro Ballroom Champions who currently hold this prestigious title in 2015. Equally as prestigious and just as renowned is the World Pro Latin Champions. I will fill you in on the winners of this title for 2015 after I give you a little background on the Pro Latin awards and what they represent.

The Latin championships are authorized and organized under the auspices of the World Dance Council, (WDC) and held annually in the last quarter of each year. The competition is made up of five dances: Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble, Cha-Cha-Cha and Jive, as defined in ballroom dancing terms.

Official world championships have been held in the Latin section of ballroom dancing since they were organized by the International Council of Ballroom Dancing (ICBD) in 1959. The ICBD was renamed WD

and DSC, which stands for World Dance and Dance Sport Council and has been renamed again to its present title, World Dance Council (WDC). The WDC represents all the major professional Dancesport countries. Unofficial world championships were held, usually in Paris, by several organizers pre-World War II. These events included one or two Latin dances in the same competition as ballroom dances. As these events had no official standing, they were not noticed in the United States. There was one earlier international Latin dance championship that started in 1953 at the Elsa Wells International Dance Championships in London. Both of these series have continued annually.

That being said, the name of the World Pro Latin Champions for 2015 are Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko. Here is a little background information on each of them. Riccardo was born in Terni, Italy in 1985. He started dancing at a very young age. At six years old, because his parents were very interested in dance, he became interested as well. Riccardo’s parents became famous Italian ballroom coaches. In his own words he said, “At first I was just dancing and then taking lessons and competing, then my parents quit their other jobs and opened up a dance studio. Of course, in the dance studio everything was focusing on producing “the couples” and I was one of the tough ones.” I think what Riccardo was trying to say here, was as soon as it got to be everybody’s full time job, he started to take it seriously and it became like a ritual. He also goes on to say, “it was not easy to dance every day on a full time level with your mother and father always there.” Riccardo further stated, “there was a lot of tension and conflict in those days, but now he says, he thanks his parents for all they gave to him.” As he was growing up, it soon became apparent that dancing was in his blood and he loved to do it. Currently, Riccardo resides in the United States. Prior to partnering with Yulia, Riccardo and his previous partner, Joanne Wikinson, were undefeated Italian Amateur Latin Champions and later the World Amateur Latin Champions. Ever since Riccardo started dancing with Yulia in 2007, they have dominated both the U.S. National Latin and World Professional Latin Championship.

Yulia Zagoruychenko was born in 1981. She is the current World Dance female champion with her partner Riccardo Cocchi. Yulia is originally from Russia. She began dancing at seven years old. As a child, she enjoyed watching and copying dances on television, so her mother agreed to take her to dance classes. Yulia learned and danced folk dances for four years. After that, Yulia moved on to ballroom dance. At the age of eleven, Yulia started to teach young children to dance, so she could earn money to give back to her parents for all of her dance lessons. At the age of twelve, she earned her first major title in Russia when she became the Russian Junior National Champion. Yulia very much wanted to take both Ballroom and Latin lessons classes but could not afford it. So at the age of sixteen, she chose to pursue Latin. At the age of twenty-one, she decided to move to America. She partnered with Maxim Kozhevnikov. Together they became the U.S. National Professional Champions. In the fall of 2007, Yulia began dancing with Riccardo Cocchi. Yulia and Riccardo won their first World Latin Championship in 2010 and also earned their second title in 2011. Needless to say, they are ranked #1 in the world for professional Latin. They won their fifth consecutive U.S. National Professional Latin Championship title at the U.S. Open Dance Competition. They are a very impressive dance couple, as you will see for yourself!

Professional Latin World Champions

Though Of The Week:

“When we doubt, we feel our fears, which in turn, strengthens our obstacles.” – John Assaraf



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website