#DancerDose – Lilia Kopylova
June 4th, 2019 by Elizabeth Radabaugh
This week’s #DancerDose has been dancing and competing professionally for over 20 years! Russian dancer, Lilia Kopylova, has perfected the art of Latin and ballroom dancing throughout her time in the entertainment industry.
Junior Moscow Ice Skating Champion
Kopylova was born in Moscow, Russia on June 18, 1978. Throughout much of her childhood, Kopylova took a great interest in ice-skating. At the age of 4, Kopylova began pursuing ice skating as a competitive sport and turned her passion into a drive to surpass competitors in the sport. With years of training on the ice, her physique was toned and strengthened to ensure techniques were performed with incredible precision and poise. At the age of 9, Kopylova was crowned the Junior Moscow Ice Skating Champion.
From Ice Skates To Dance Shoes
Her interest in ice skating and her competitive nature in pursuing her passion led to an interest in dancing. Many ice skaters are instructed to perform routines that mimic dance movements, which led Kopylova to succeed as a dancer off the ice. In 1987, she began intense training as a dancer and decided to pair up with champion dancer, Mikhali Batashov, to eventually compete as a duo. With years of practice and passion behind her along with her previous experience on the ice, Kopylova quickly noticed her talent was better executed on the dance floor with a partner by her side. In 1990, just three years after her dance training began, Kopylova and her partner won their first professional competition. A year later, they became the first Soviet dancing duo to be allowed abroad to dance at their young age. They went on to win the Danish Open in Copenhagen as well as finding success in France and Italy.
Dancing Around The World
The following years, Kopylova found even more success in her craft as she represented her country in the International Dance Championships. Her representation and talent captivated crowds as she continued to perform across the globe. Her success was taken a step further and a relationship blossomed as she was introduced to fellow dancer, Darren Barret. The two went on to take their personal relationship and passion to the dance floor as they became professional dancers. The two won the amateur Youth Championship of Dance in July 1997 and were crowned as a professional success 5 years later. With their mutual passion for each other and the art of dance, the two create an explosive performance combining various Latin styles and techniques to blow away audiences while creating a solid status for themselves as individuals and partners!
Taking The U.K. By Storm
The two moved to the United Kingdom to continue to pursue their passions as professional dancers in the early 2000s. Despite their immense talent, the pair was disregarded by some as not being as talented as critics may have claimed. Though the comments could have set the couple back, they used it as ammunition to drive their ambitions as they took Britain by storm. They were crowed the British Champions for Professional Latin, coming in first place in all 5 dances. With their new status and their talents eventually validated by spectators and doubters alike, Kopylova went on to take her talent for ballroom dance a step further as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing. From 2004 until 2009, Kopylova solidified her status as a force to be reckoned with in the art of Latin dance. She instructed amateur dancers and other professionals on the importance of a partnership within dance as well as the art as a whole. She won the competition with her partner, Darren Gough, in 2005 and continued to impress crowds throughout the years with her incredible moves and captivating personality.
Today, Kopylova and her partner Darren Barret are married and performing alongside each other in a West End dance show called Latin Fever. The show emphasizes dances that they have choreographed themselves while accompanying costumes and music chosen by the duo to effectively reflect the mood of each Latin dance. The couple is also a part of the team behind “Essentially Dance,” a British show aimed to teach children ballroom and Latin American dance as a means of tackling childhood obesity while promoting social skills that will last a lifetime. Kopylova and Barret have shown that despite having some negativity intrude on your dreams, success is still possible with enough ambition, drive, and determination on your side.
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Casey Eggers is a writer for StarQuest. She loves coffee, music, and running long distance.