For national dance champions, Faith Pangea and Richie Kaszas, movement is not only an art—it’s a way of life.
When they dance, they move as if connected by some invisible force. Their intimacy is electric, sparking emotions that leave the audience always wanting more. More passion. More romance. More play. More dancing.
“It’s just magic for me,” says Faith. “It makes you escape from your everyday reality or problems society can have. I really think the world would be a better place if everybody was dancing.”
They exhibit athletic grace, beauty and show-stopping spirit before competitive judges and for everyday students they teach in Cypress. Faith and Richie are both instructors at Fred Astaire on Skinner Road, but their passion for each other transcends the dance floor.
Faith, who is originally from Greece, began dancing ballet as a young girl and went on to compete with a team for Greece’s Got Talent. Richie, who is originally from Hungary, started competing about age 10. The two were introduced by a coach who knew at the time they both needed competition partners. They began a relationship first as just as teammates, but their connection soon blossomed into a romance. They fell in love with the passion of the sport—and each other.
“We love it so much we decided to make it a lifestyle,” Faith says.
Faith and Richie would dance together for the next five years, winning so many titles and championships to list. Then, just last year, the couple took a Caribbean cruise where Richie surprised Faith with a wedding proposal. She said yes.
That same year, they won the Fred Astaire National Championship adding to the numerous dance victories they’ve accumulated over the years. They finished fourth in the prestigious United States Dance Championship and earned a spot in the semi-finals out of more than 300 competitors. They both represented their home countries in national DanceSport competitions. This year, they placed third at the Fred Astaire World Championships.
To get to that level, Richie says it takes a mixture of athleticism, flexibility, mental toughness and connection.
“You have to connect with everything," he says. "You have to connect with the moment. You have to connect with the audience. You have to connect with the music. You have to connect with everything to have a great performance, because if one of (those) is missing you’re not going to be satisfied.”
But for all of their professional achievements, Faith and Richie remain dedicated and humble teachers. They are equally as dedicated to their students as to their own professional dance routines. They teach inexperienced couples looking to learn a wedding routine, children, single adults and longtime couples looking to reignite their relationship through dance.
“You don’t have to be a professional dancer to enjoy dancing,” Richie says. “It doesn’t matter your age, your body structure your abilities. You are able to be your true self. Everybody’s capable of dancing.”