About Nicholas Tapia


When he was fifteen..

Nicholas developed a crush on a pretty girl at his high school so, when she invited him to partner her in a ballroom dance taster course, he leaped at the chance. Little did he know that it was to be the beginning of a passionate, lifelong romance: not with the high school sweetheart, but with dance.

He wasn’t a natural: at first he found the steps bewildering and hard to remember but something about it intrigued and challenged him. He knew he wanted to master this art form. He wanted to know how dance worked, how the system fitted together. He started taking salsa, as well as ballroom, classes, spending many hours observing and copying the better dancers.

Nicholas’s dance explorations continued at university. Although he was not part of an official dance program (he graduated in Latin American studies), Nicholas spent every spare moment at dance class. He regularly dedicated thirty-five hours a week to his passion: taking lessons in folklórico (Mexican folk dance), as well as ballroom, salsa and Argentine tango. In 2009, he took a year out to teach ballroom dancing for the famous Arthur Murray dance franchise. At Arthur Murray, Nicholas received intensive training in dance pedagogy. His experiences there taught him the importance of relating to students personally and investing in their progress. He learned to care as much about his students’ dance as about his own and discovered when to encourage students and when to challenge them. He also learned the importance of having a clear syllabus, with specific figures tailored to each student’s level.

Nicholas’s general interest in partner dance evolved into an intense love of and dedication to Argentine tango in particular at the end of 2009, during his first visit to Buenos Aires. It was a humbling experience. He realized that tango was about more than steps and figures: that he needed to make deeper connections between the music, the movements, the culture and the history of the dance. He studied with Rui Sato and her partners: first Paso Han and then Alejandro Berón. Paso showed him the elegance of salón tango. Alejandro honed Nicholas’s musicality. But Rui taught him the most important lessons of all: how to embrace gently and lovingly; how to find a balance between expressing himself, communicating with his partner, harmonizing with the other dancers around him and feeling like part of a living tradition. He discovered that tango was a holistic experience and, yet, for all its magic and charm, it could be learned. And taught. He resolved to teach it.

On his return to the States, Nicholas competed in the American Tango Championships, winning fifth place with his partner, Rebecca XXXXX. He continued to teach and dance salsa, ballroom and swing. But tango was now his main focus. The following year, he returned to Buenos Aires for another four months, to study and train. On his return, he competed in the American Tango Championships again, placing third this time, with Amar Singh.

In 2012 year, Nicholas met Stephanie Berg and began the most important artistic and personal relationship of his life. The rest of his story is a the story of their joint endeavors.