About Us

Irina & Matías

Irina fell in love with dancing at age 6 in Philadelphia, PA, under the tutelage of world champion Inna Ivanenko. From a young age, she loved to learn subtle technique, improve her dancing, and share the love of dance with others. She received training from many great champions of International style Latin & Ballroom, and recieved many accolades including USADance National Champion and USA representative to the world at the WDSF World Championships. She is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Biopsychology.

Matías fell in love with dancing at age 19 in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Carnegie Mellon University Ballroom Dance Club. He grew up in a family of classical musicians and his brother Tomás is a pianist that transcends genres. He studied Physics, Computer Science, and Quantum Computing in his time at Carnegie Mellon University, but the rich complexity of dance spoke to him deeply. Recently, he was an Adjunct Professor in the Dance Department at Seton Hill University teaching the history and practice of partner dances in the Americas.

Matías & Irina started dancing together in 2021 and are on a quest to revolutionize the ballroom dance world by (re)connecting each dance authentically with its deep and complex historic roots. They have a passion for teaching dance with an emphasis on connection, authenticity, and natural movement.

Our Dance Philosophy

Have you ever wondered why each dance is danced in its own particular way?

The answer to that question, as it turns out, is not so simple. In this series, we will begin unpacking the authentic history of a wide range of dances from around the world, and look for ideas and inspiration for dance and for life.


Chapter 1: Evolution of Afro-Cuban Dance Ideas
Part 1: Introduction & Historical Context
Part 2: Performance at Seton Hill University, choreographed by Matías Jonsson

Partner dances in Cuba evolved from the African slave trade. European dances like Contra Dance, Waltz, and Gavotte, Mazurka, and Flamenco mixed with religious music and dance from the diverse cultures of West Africa in colonial Cuba. 6 social and competitive ballroom dances are descended directly from this lineage.

Chapter 2: Why doesn't Ballroom Samba look Brazilian?
The roots of Samba run deep into ancient Angola and the countryside of the Czech Republic.

Chapter 3: Coming soon

Bonus Video: African rhythmical worldview
A beautiful insight into the profound relationship between rhythm and life in the lives of the Malinke tribes of West Africa.

Past Performances

Chachachá at Pittsburgh Ballroom

Jive at Crossbody Dance & Movement

Maxixe-style Samba at USADance Pittsburgh

International Rumba at Pittsburgh Ballroom

Want us to perform at your event? Contact us!

Group Classes & Workshops

Address located at the bottom of this page. Please check the calendar for the most up-to-date information. No partner is necessary for any of our classes.

All classes are $12 unless otherwise noted.

Drop-ins always welcome. Student discounts available.

Location

Wightman School Community Center (Studio 306 and Ballroom)
5604 Solway Street Floor 3, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (Squirrel Hill)


Please use the door phone (code 126, "APASIONADO" in directory) to be let in.

Want to know more? Contact us! Please do not contact the Wightman School.

Private Lessons

Whether you are an absolute beginner looking to learn how to dance, or an experienced veteran social dancer wanting to take your dancing to the next level with new combinations and techniques, or a competitor looking to improve your quality on the floor, or someone else altogether, let us know how we can serve you best.

Prices listed below are for lessons with just one instructor at a time; lessons with both Matías & Irina may be purchased at a premium of $10 per lesson.

Block Size Block Price Unit Price
One Lesson (1 hour) $80 $80/hr
Five Lessons (5 x 1 hour) $375 $75/hr
Ten Lessons (10 x 1 hour) $700 $70/hr
Your First Lesson (1 hour)) $40 (50% off) $40/hr

Want to schedule a private lesson? Contact us today!


Location

Wightman Dance Center (Studio and Ballroom)
5604 Solway Street Floor 3, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (Squirrel Hill)

Wedding First Dance

Bring us your favorite song, no matter how unusual, and we will help you learn to dance a magical first dance. A block of 5 lessons is the minimum that we recommend to make sure you are confident in your dancing.

We also offer lessons for dances with parents.

Pricing and lesson structure

Block Size Block Price What you can expect to learn
The Bare Essentials:
Two Lesson (2 x 1 hour)
$200 Connection, basic steps that match your song, how to move together to the music.
Standard Package:
Five Lessons (5 x 1 hour)
$475 Approx. 90 seconds of choreography, an entrance, a dip or a trick at the end, and some more advanced dance steps and connection techniques.
Shock Your Family:
Ten Lessons (10 x 1 hour)
$900 Approx. 3-4 minutes of bespoke choreography, fully customized to match an entire song, with unique tricks and movements tailored to you.

Sample wedding dances



Contact us today!

Studio Calendar

Check locations on events carefully as we teach and perform at numerous locations.

Contact

Location

Wightman Dance Center (Studio and Ballroom)
5604 Solway Street Floor 3, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (Squirrel Hill)

If you wish to contact us to schedule a lesson, a wedding dance consultation, book us for an event, or anything else, you can use this form and we will be in touch shortly.

If you just wish to join our mailing list, you can click here to be added.

Alternatively, you can contact us directly.
Phone: 412-805-9798
Email: apasionado.pgh@gmail.com

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