Nicolas Tapia and Antonela Chaya

Nicolas Tapia and Antonela Chaya are Arrebato Caleño‘s teachers of bachata and salsa. They are a couple from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who came to Cali to learn Cali style salsa and stayed to live their dream to the fullest – travel and dance for the rest of their lives.

Nicolas – from gym trainer to dance teacher

In 2011 Nico (31) was a driver and a gym instructor in his hometown Buenos Aires, Argentina. Then one day – everything changed. At the gym where Nico was working they organized a bachata class during his shift. He had never even dreamed about dancing before, but that day he ended up peaking at the class continuously. Next Thursday he was one of the students in the hall.

As soon as Nico started to dance, he left his gym trainer job behind. He would still work as a driver during mornings, but the afternoons and evenings dedicated solely to dancing. In March 2017 he ended up in Arrebato Caleño. “I left Argentina on February 2nd and hitchhiked here in a month through Northern Argentina, Bolivia, Perú and Ecuador.” In June, his girlfriend Antonela joined him in Cali.

Initially, Nico’s dream was to travel Latin America as a backpacker and combine it with bachata, but he ended up in a salsa school in Cali instead. This was thanks to a girl she met at a party back home, who one day posted a video of Arrebato Caleño on his Facebook page. That’s how he ended up first as a volunteer, later as a teacher at Arrebato Caleño.

Nicolas Tapia and Antonela Chaya Dancing Bachata

Antonela – “I thought life was all about work”

Antonela (30) has been dancing for five years. Even before she started to dance semi-professionally, Antonela always loved to dance but never had the possibility to train. When already an adult she started with one class of bachata and the rest is history. She loved it and has been dancing ever since. Nowadays she dances and teaches not only bachata but also L.A. style and Cali style salsa, which both she is still learning as well.

Before starting with dance, Antonela was an employee in administration. “I thought life is all about work”, she says. One can clearly see she loves dance so much she doesn’t even consider it work. What she most adores about is how she doesn’t think about anything else when dancing. For her, dance is all about emotions and happiness – be it shows, social dancing, Antonela loves everything. Just as Nicolas, also Antonela left many things for dance: her family, her job, her country.

One of Antonela’s best memories in dance is the day she did her first group choreography. That’s the moment she realized that if she really pushes herself in dancing, she can reach amazing results – something she had never imagined.

Nicolas Tapia and Antonela Chaya Dancing Bachata in Colombia

Dreams of travel and dance

Next year Alejandra and Nico wish to continue traveling the world for dance. Their dream is to one day go to the Dominican Republic where bachata is from, and at some point also visit the US. However, their next destination will probably be Europe where they hope to give workshops on bachata and Cali style salsa.

Have you already read Andrés,  Kanelo and Miguel‘s stories about their lives as dancers? If not, please do!

Written by Sissi Korhonen
Fascinated by meeting, interpreting and understanding people. Strangerless at soul and heart.