Dancing together since 1997 Darren & Lilia achieved great success early in their career together winning the International and British Youth Championships at under 21. As amateur they won the British National Championships 4 times and travelled the world in amateur events. Whilst amateur they were invited to perform for many different types of audience including Elton John's 50th Birthday.
Turning Professional in 2003 they won the British Rising Star Professional Championships at their first attempt beating 250 couples to this prestigious title. They continued their success making the final of the Italian & Dutch Opens and World Masters. Within their first year of professionalism they achieved a ranking in the top 6 of the World Series. .
In 2004 they make it to the World Final and became members of the British Team. In July 2004 they were asked if they would like to take part in the BBC Strictly Come Dancing, having been unavailable for the first series they took up the offer and never looked back. The show has continued to be one of the BBC success stories and at it's peak attracts approx. 11 million viewers. Darren dancing with Jill Halfpenny from Eastenders won the show and then went on to win the Champion of Champions dance off. Lilia dancing with Aled Jones were the fan's favourite winning the phone vote for 6 weeks. Darren went on to present at the Royal Variety Show meeting Prince Charles and performing with Michael Buble on stage.
2005 was another great year, with them becoming British National Champions after being placed first in all 5 dances. A return to Strictly Come Dancing saw Lilia this time take the title while partnering cricketing star Darren Gough, after which they also went on to win the International Chrismas special.
In 2006 they retained their British National title and their third participation in Strictly saw them achieve astounding success with both Darren and Lilia battling it out with their competitors in the semi-finals and Lilia making it again to the final.
They have performed their caberet show all over the world and have demonstrated in front of thousands in the UK, USA, Japan, Taiwan, Shanghai, Canada, South Korea and in the Kremlin, Moscow. As well as being successful competitors and performers they have built up a reputation as coaches, choreographers and first class trainers. They train many of the top Junior, Youth and Amateur couples in the UK, including the British Junior champions and No. 1 Youth couple in the UK
Lilia Andreievna Kopylova was born on June 18, 1978 in Moscow. Lilia's dancing commenced at the age of four when she started both ice skating and ballet and she went on to win the Moscow championship in figure skating at the age of 6. She was also a keen gymnast during this period and she took up ballroom and latin at the age of 9 and has never looked back. During her teenage years she won several titles including USSR ten dance champion, Russian National Champion and the Italian , Danish and French Open Championships
In 1997 she was introduced to Darren Bennett and five months later, with Lilia having moved to the UK, they won the International and British Youth Championships. In January 1999, Lilia married Darren and in December 2004 she became a British Citizen. They turned professional in 2003 and are now Britain's Top Latin American Dance couple. They go on being hugely successful in competitions together and during 2007 alone will have done around ninety shows in the UK.
Lilia joined the highly successful BBC 1 TV series Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 when she danced with Aled Jones and they reached the semi-final. in 2005 Lilia went on to dance with Darren Gough and won and they also went on to win the Christmas Special, then in 2006 once again she made the final with Matt Dawson.
Due to Lilia's success and her obvious passion for dance, Universal offered her a DVD deal for Christmas 2006 and Latinasize became the top fitness DVD of the year and has now sold in excess of 110,000 copies . Not surprisingly, due to this success she was commissioned for a follow up in December 2007 called Latinatone.
Darren Lee Bennett was born on February 14, 1977 in Deepcar, and has a twin brother, Dale, who is also a dancer. Both of his parents were Professional Dancers who now own City Limits Dance Centre in Sheffield, one of the biggest dance studios in the country.
In July 1997 Darren was still an amateur dancer and a shoe company Sales Manager when, thanks to Dale who knew that his brother was on the lookout for a new partner, decided to introduce him to Lilia Kopylova whom he knew from his dancing links in Denmark. It took just 15 minutes for them to realise how good they were together. Five months later, they won the International and British Youth Championships.
In January 1999, Darren and Lilia married. They turned professional in 2003 and are now regarded as one of Britain's finest Latin American dance couples and make regular appearances on British TV.
British National Professional Latin Champions 2005/06
World Professional Latin Finalists 2005
World Show Dance Champions 2004
World Professional Rising Star Champions 2003
4 x British Amateur Latin Champions
4 x UK Closed Amateur Latin Champions
W. European Amateur Latin Champions
World Amateur Latin Semi-Finalists
STRICTLY COME DANCING
SERIES 2 - Winner
DARREN BENNETT & JILL HALFPENNY
SERIES 3 - Winner
LILIA KOPYLOVA & DARREN GOUGH
SERIES 4 - Semi-finalists
DARREN BENNETT & EMMA BUNTON
LILIA KOPYLOVA & MATT DAWSON
SERIES 5 - XMAS SPECIAL WINNER
LILIA KOPYLOVA & DARREN GOUGH
SERIES 6 - CHRISTMAS SPECIAL WINNER
DARREN BENETT & JILL HALFPENNY