Irina Kapeli began her dance career with Rhythmic Gymnastics and Ballet in Moscow at the age of 6. She then tried Ballroom, but stuck with Ballet and Jazz. Since then she has also studied Salsa, Argentine Tango, Bachata, Zouk, Samba De Gafiera, Russian Folk, Gypsy, Modern Dance, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Modern Jive and Burlesque. She has completed Polestar Pilates and Zumba B1, B2/ Zumba Toning Courses. She has studied papers like Anatomy, Physiology, Bio-mechanics, Dance Studies, Dance Teaching and Choreography at AUT

Irina has performed Nationally and Internationally, she has choreographed and produced her own dance shows, taught all over New Zealand and has been involved in numerous National and International events as an organizer and  as a judge. Those include:

  • Le Bop Open Modern Jive Championship 2010 (judge)
  • New Zealand Salsa Championships 2011 ( co-creator/ judge)
  • Kiwi Classic 2011( judge)
  • New Zealand Salsa Championships 2012 (co-creator/judge)
  • Kiwi Classic 2012 (judge)
  • Kiwi Classic 2013 (judge)
  • World Dance Sport Games 2013 – Taiwan (judge Latin and Hip Hop)
  • Kiwi Classic 2015 (judge Salsa and Argentine Tango)
  • Consultation class for Shane Cameron and Nerida Cortese on Argentine Tango for Dancing With The Stars 2015
  • NZ Latin Dance Cup 2016 (judge)
  • Kiwi Classic 2016 ( judge)
  • South Island Salsa Competition 2016 (judge)
  • South Island Salsa Competition 2017 (judge)
  • South Island Salsa Competition 2018 (judge)
  • South Island Salsa Competition 2019 (judge)
  • NZ Latin Dance Championships  (Formerly NZSO) 2013-2019 (creator/ event manager /judge)
  • New Zealand Salsa Congress 2013-2017 ( co-organizer)
  • Owner and Director of Dance Pro Studios 2008-2012
  • Manager at Viva Dance Studios 2012-2017
  • Co-owner and teacher of Dance Whanganui together with Rene Olmos 2018- now

Some of Irina’s TV and media appearances:

Flight Center Social Media/Youtube commercial – South America 2016

Guest presenter for Neighborhood episode – Parnell -2016

New Segment for Maori TV HakaNation Season 2 2015- Argentine Tango

The Breakfast Challenge: Salsa dancing 2013

Whanau Living Salsa 2013

Good Morning show 2012

nzrealhealth 10 Questions 2013



Amy Norman “Irina at Viva has guided me through the steps and styles of Argentine Tango from complete novice to dedicated improver. I appreciate, sincerely, her patient and interactive instructions and value her continued support of my new passion.”

Wall Of Fame

A list of Irina’s achievements as well as her couples and teams

NZ South Island Latin Dance Championships 2020

Ella Riddell – 2nd place Youth Salsa Solo
Sophie and Tobias Perkins – 2nd place Youth Latin Couple
Jessica Curran and Ella Riddell – 2nd place Youth Salsa Duet

NZ Latin Dance Championships 2019

Ella Riddell – 3rd place Youth Salsa Solo
WIS Shines Team – 2nd place Youth Salsa Shines Teams
Dance Whanganui Youth Team – 2nd place Youth Latin Shines Teams

NZ Salsa Congress 2018

Irina Kapeli –  Lifetime Contribution to The NZ Latin Dance Industry Award

NZ Latin Dance Championships 2018

Gemma Pouls and Benjamin Broughton  – 1st Place Beginner Freestyle

New Zealand Salsa Open 2015

Irina Kapeli and Elena Semilit – 2nd Place Open Salsa Duets

New Zealand Salsa Open 2014

Irina Kapeli – 3rd Place Professional Female Salsa Solo
Viva Black Salsa Team – 2nd Place Open Salsa Teams

NZ WCS Open Champs 2014

Viva Black Advanced Salsa Team- 1st Place in Open Teams category

New Zealand Salsa Solo 2014

Irina Kapeli – 3rd Equal Professional Salsa Solo

New Zealand Salsa Open 2013

Irina Kapeli- 1st Place Female Salsa Solo
Mike Brady and Natalie Fester – Viva Dance 1st Place Intermediate Salsa
Mitchel Kwan and Eyah Al-atafi -Viva Dance 2nd Place Intermediate Salsa
Jayesh Jain and Elena Semilit -Viva Dance 3rd Place Intermediate Salsa
Simon Bozich and Ekaterina Ponomarenko – Viva Dance (2nd equal) Advanced Salsa
Viva Emerald- 2nd Place – Large Salsa Teams
Jayesh Jain(Am) and Irina Kapeli ( Pro) – Viva Dance 3rd Place Pro/Am Salsa
Viva Emerald- Viva Dance – 2nd Place Large Teams

New Zealand Salsa Championships 2013

Irina Kapeli – 3rd Place Female Salsa Solo

NZ WCS Open Champs 2013

Viva Emerald Intermediate Salsa Team- 2nd Place in Open Teams category

Kiwi Classic International Dance Competition 2013

Dance Pro Chair Tango Performance team – NZ Formation Team Championship -2nd Place
Irina Kapeli and Aiono Lulualii – Pro/Am Salsa- 2nd place
Caroline Gaillard and Sheldon Benito – Intermediate Salsa – 1st Place
Irina Kapeli – Advanced Ceroc DWAS – 2nd Place

New Zealand Salsa Championships 2012

Vilmos Danyi & Dianne McMillan- 2nd Place Beginners
Sheldon Benito & Caroline Gaillard – 2nd Place Intermediate
Blaine Holt & Irina Kapeli- 2nd Place Pro/Am ( representing Viva Latino)
Dance Pro Salsa Shines Team – 3rd Place- Salsa Shines Teams
Irina Kapeli- 3rd Place Salsa Solo Shines( representing Viva Latino)

New Zealand Open Swing Dance Championships 2012

Dance Pro Performance Team- 3rd Place Teams
Irina Kapeli- 3rd Place Cabaret Section

New Zealand Salsa Solo Shine Competition 2012

Dance Pro Performance Team – 3rd place Salsa Team Category + Entry to Finals of Brisbane

International Salsa Solo Competition 2012

Irina Kapeli- Invitation to perform in the Brisbane International Showcase 2012

Kiwi Classic International Dance Competition 2012

Juan Sandoval and Caroline Gaillard – 1st place Intermediate Salsa
Dani Wijekoon and Jenny Wang – 2nd place Intermediate Salsa
Irina Kapeli and Sheldon Benito – 1st place Argentine Tango Showdance
Irina Kapeli – 1st place Advanced Ceroc DWAS.

New Zealand Salsa Championships 2011

Kahl Shierling and Kerry Wrigley – 3rd place Beginners
Lee Cook -2nd place Mr Salsa

New Zealand National Ceroc Championships 2011

Irina Kapeli – 1st place Open DWAS

East and South Ceroc Championships 2011

Irina Kapeli and Jason Stubbs- 3rd place Showcase

New Zealand Open Swing Dance Championships 2011

Dance Pro Performance Team- 2nd Place Teams

Le Bop Dance NZ 2nd Modern Jive Championships 2010

Dance Pro Performance Team – 1st place Cabaret
Dance Pro Performance Team – 3rd place Cabaret

Salsa Nationals 2009

Steve Mathie and Deepika Gounder – 1st place Beginners
Lee Cook and Liz Neath – 3rd place Amateur
Steve Mathie and Deepika Gounder – People’s choice award