Talent Recap

Who is ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Pro Koko Iwasaki?

Vinny Guadagnino and Koko IwasakiPhoto by ABC/Eric McCandless

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Dancing With The Stars Season 31 has introduced a new face in the professional dancers list to heat up the ballroom. Koko Iwasaki is a 25-year-old rookie paired with Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino. Let’s get to know her more.

Who Was Koko Iwasaki Before Dancing With The Stars?

The Iwasaki family was originally based in Kanagawa, Japan, but decided to move to South Florida when Koko was two years old. After discovering that she could dance, her parents immediately enrolled her in a dancing studio, which started her dancing career.

“I remember when I was about six years old, I went from liking dance to wanting to dance for the rest of my life,” she said in her Dance & Co bio.

For years, Koko was took lessons about ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop. At 16, she transitioned into a professional dancer.

“Dance is what makes me feel my most self. It makes me feel alive and it gives me a purpose,” she said.

Koko remembers that spot in the dancing studio where something inside her passionately affirmed that dancing is the only thing she wanted to do in her lifetime. Obviously, that has not changed since then.

Koko Didn’t Know Ballroom Dancing Until She Met Her Boyfriend

Being in the same studio for 18 years, Koko wasn’t able to explore the technicalities of ballroom dancing. Luckily, she learned this dance style when she competed in So You Think You Can Dance. This show was where she met her current boyfriend, Kiki Nyemchek.

“When I met Kiki, he taught me all things ballroom and now, I am obsessed,” she said.

Koko ended up as a runner-up in So You Think You Can Dance Season 14, losing to hip hop dancer Lex Ishimoto. Her genre in the competition was contemporary. At present, she is an all-star and mentor of the competition.

She’s Worked with A-List Stars in the Past

As a relatively young professional dancer, Koko has quite an experience with famous artists in the past. She has performed with Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Jason Derulo, Becky G, Luis Fonsi, and Camila Cabello. Koko also danced in Luis and Maluma’s world tours.

Koko also made appearances in television shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Lip Sync Battle, The Masked Dancer, and Empire.

Recently, she danced alongside fellow season 31 pros in Dancing With the Stars Live 2022 tour.

Koko Iwasaki’s partnership with Vinny Guadagnino will hopefully bring a new sense of enthusiasm to the dancing competition. Dancing With The Stars airs every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Disney+.

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