As a child, she enjoyed watching and copying dancers on TV so her mother agreed to take her to dance classes where she did folk dancing for four years. At the age of 11, Zagoruychenko started to teach kids to earn some money which she then gave to her parents.
At age 12, she earned her first major title in Russia when she became the Russian Junior National Champion.
They talk about dance versus sport (Riccardo was going to be a footballer on the Roma team — who knew?
), art versus sport, their personal lives, how they started dancing, the politics of dancesport, what dance means to them, how they found each other after long prior partnerships, why children should learn dance, etc.
Riccardo had a romantic relationship with Shirley Ballas, but that ended this year.
For financial reasons, she could not afford to dance both Ballroom and Latin and so at the age of 16 she chose to pursue Latin.
At the age of 21 she decided to move to America, and partnered with Maxim Kozhevnikov.
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Riccardo Cocchi (born December 7, 1977, Terni, Italy) is a six-time Latin Dance Champion, with his partner, Yulia Zagoruychenko.