Irina Kapeli — an interview

Irina Kapeli and Julius Wendt

Irina is a relative newcomer to the world of Argentine tango, but dancing is certainly nothing new for her, having had previous experience in performing salsa, and training in dance forms such as ballet, jazz, modern dance and Russian folk.

What got you into tango?

My sister used to dance Argentine Tango years ago and I felt at the time that I was a bit too young for it, but after observing it for a while I got strong appreciation and admiration for the dance. I started to learn in about 2007 and became mildly obsessed, studying every video I could find.

What do you love about tango, or what does tango mean to you?

I love the freedom of movement and ability for the follower to interpret the music with variations of styling.

How long have you been teaching tango for?

About 4 years now.

Which tango dancers have you learnt from, or who inspire you?

Christy Coté and George Garcia are my favorite instructors.

Which style(s) of tango would you say you dance and/or teach?

I used to be only into Show Tango as I am a stage dancer, but over the last few years have really fallen in love with the freestyle, especially the blindfold challenges.

What are your classes like?

Each class focuses on some footwork and lead/follow technique, at least one figure with variations and practice time with music. At the end of the class we play a song for students to practice everything they know including moves they may have learnt in other classes or from other instructors. We are patient, fun and encouraging. We teach structured 8 week courses for beginners that cover all the important basics of Tango, and open variation classes for more experienced students, building on more layers of skill and complexity and finding their own style.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring tango dancers?

Dance more socially and be patient. The Tango Basic is easy to learn but the dance itself takes a lifetime to master.

Irina Kapeli
January 2012

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