Creative direction for dance

Darren & Lilia


Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova
Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova - UK Champions
Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova - UK Dance Champions

Competitive Career

3 times UK Champions

When Darren and Lilia met it took just 15 minutes for them to realize how good they were together and they competed in their first competition after just 5 weeks together! Five months later they won the International and British Youth Championships with the incredible feat of winning every dance.

The couple continued with a fantastic amateur career winning the first of 4 British amateur Latin American championships the following year as well as three UK championships and they also represented Great Britain at European and world championship level until, inevitably, Darren and Lilia turned professional in 2003.

As professionals this talented couple won the British Rising Star Professional Latin Championships at their first attempt, beating 250 couples for this prestigious title. In their first year of going professional they were positioned in the top six in World Series Ranking.
In 2004 Darren and Lilia continued to make major finals all over the world competing in Japan, China and even in Lilia’s childhood home of Russia, dancing in the Kremlin in Moscow. One of their biggest achievements as competitive dancers was making the final of the World Latin American Championships and becoming members of the British team for the following four consecutive years. They won the British South American show dance Championships in the same year. In 2005 Darren and Lilia continued with their competitive careers and became British National Latin Champions, UK professional Latin Champions and European Professional Latin Finalists.

In 2006 Darren and Lilia retained their British Professional Latin title as well as performing, training, and choreographing all over the world. Now this inspirational couple made the hard decision to concentrate on shows, bringing their unique talents to performances all over the world.

This couple have achieved amazing success as competitive dancers and hold the undisputed title of being one of the most prolific British dance couples of their generation.

The Strictly Years

…..all about the glitter!

Darren and Lilia first joined the cast of Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 and got off to a blistering start by winning the show in the first two consecutive years. In his first appearance and dancing with Jill Halfpenny from Eastenders, Darren won the show and then went on to win the Champion of Champions dance off. Not to be outdone, in 2005, Lilia waltzed off with the title while partnering cricketing star Darren Gough and went on to win the International Christmas special.

A third stint on Strictly saw them achieve astounding success with Darren and Lilia actually battling it out against each other, in the semi-finals. Darren danced with spice girl Emma Bunton and Lilia partnered Rugby legend Matt Dawson, making it to the final.

Darren and Lilia appeared in no less than six seasons of Strictly Come Dancing winning 6 trophies between them, an achievement that topped the tally of any other professional on the show.  Over the years they danced with stars from every genre of entertainment including Gloria Hunniford, Letitia Dean, Jessie Wallace, Aled Jones, Don Warrington, Dominic Littlewood and Richard Dunwoody.

Lilia Kopylova nd Darren Gough win Strictly Come Dancing
Darren Bennett and Jill Halfpenny win Strictly Come Dancing
Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova on Strictly Come Dancing
Darren Bennett judges on Dancing With the Stars
Darren Bennett judges on Dancing With the Stars
Darren Bennett judges on Dancing With the Stars

The Strictly Years

...travelling the world

Today, this talented couple travel the world as creative directors, choreographers and producers for different versions of Dancing with the Stars. They have also appeared as judges on many different versions of Dancing with the Stars in the Middle East, Ireland, Turkey and Georgia.

There could be no better pedigree in the world of dance and the continuation of their careers than for Darren and Lilia to bring their talents to choreography and direction giving others a chance to benefit from their experience and success. When time allows, they also train many of the top junior, youth, amateur and professional couples, including the UK professional champions and leading youth couples around the world.

The West End

Latin Fever

In 2009, they embarked on a very different project, their very own West End show “Latin Fever”.  Running for 5 weeks in the heart of the West End, it thrilled audiences throughout, giving Darren and Lilia the opportunity to direct and choreograph.

After a sell-out show in London’s West End, Darren and Lilia brought Latin Fever to a wider audience with their first UK wide tour in 2010.

Darren and Lilia on the West End show Latin Fever
Darren and Lilia on the West End show Latin Fever
Lilia Kopylova dance video