Our Staff

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Vera Rowe

Vera Rowe, co-owner of UVLDA, is seven time World Salsa, Bachata and Hustle Champion. Vera has traveled all over the U.S. as well as internationally to teach, perform, and compete in places such as Canada, Spain, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong and Asia. Vera Rowe was born in New York City and graduated from LaGuardia High School of The Performing Arts as a dance major. Aside from being a dancer she was also a USA gymnast for 20 years and competed for Penn State University as a NCAA Division I athlete. She holds a Masters Degree in Mathematics from Boston University. Vera's most recent accomplishments include becoming The 2015 World Cabaret Salsa Summit Champion, The 2015 World Cabaret Bachata Summit Champion, The 2015 World Hustle Champion and The 2014 World Bachata Masters Champion. She has also been a finalists at The 2012 World Latin Dance Cup, The 2013 Puerto Rico World Salsa Open and The 2013 Hong Kong World Salsa Championships. Vera currently resides in North Miami, Florida, USA where she is co-owner of UV Latin Dance Academy.

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Uriel Garcia

Uriel Garcia, co-owner of UVLDA, is seven time World Salsa, Bachata and Hustle Champion. He has been dancing Salsa and Bachata since 2004 and has traveled all over the U.S. as well as internationally to teach, perform, and compete in places such as Canada, Spain, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong and China. Uriel Garcia was born in The Dominican Republic and came to the USA when he was six years old. He was a competitive athlete in football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and track and field. Uriel grew up dancing various forms of Latin dance however, he started dancing salsa at the age of 20 and was trained by his older brother, Darlin Garcia. His most recent accomplishments include becoming The 2015 World Cabaret Salsa Summit Champion, The 2015 World Cabaret Bachata Summit Champion, The 2015 World Hustle Champion and The 2014 World Bachata Masters Champion. He has also been a finalists at The 2012 World Latin Dance Cup, The 2013 Puerto Rico World Salsa Open and The 2013 Hong Kong World Salsa Championships. Uriel currently resides in North Miami, Florida, USA where he is co-owner of UV Latin Dance Academy.

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Hazael Rojas

Hazael (Eduardo) Rojas, studio manage of UVLDA, was born in New York City and raised in Camden New Jersey. He started secretly dancing socially at age 12 at functions and parties which led him to instruct at age 21. With parents hailing from the Dominican Republic and a father who pastored a religious church, dancing was seen to be wrong yet his desire grew to learn over seventeen partner dances in Ballroom, Latin, and cultural dances from Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. His passion for Salsa dance strengthened  when joining a performance group "Art In Motion" of Philadelphia, later "Carribean Soul" with director Ismael Otero (NJ) and "Proyecto Descarga" with director Sekou McMiller (NYC.)  He learned Ballroom at Arthur Murray and Dance with Me Studios then working at several Latin dance based studios in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Portland Oregon, New York City and Connecticut. At Latin Moves dance studio, he started his own latin choreography groups Zael and Haza of which he was profoundly proud to show his talent. His style of movement would incorporate any style he fell in love with from Latin Jazz to Hip Hop or Ballroom. His journey has led him to North Miami Beach and is very happy to work with his new family at UV Latin Dance Academy.  Throughout his career he noticed what dance can do to a person and he often says “I’m not only in the business to teach people how to dance but more the business of changing peoples lives." 

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Cindy Garcia

Cindy Garcia, office manager of UVLDA, was born and raised in New Jersey. She grew up dancing Salsa and Bachata as both of her brothers were professional dancers. She has competed at a world level in competitions such as The World Salsa Summit. Cindy has spent the majority of her professional career managing businesses and working in offices. At UV Latin Dance Academy, she enjoys combining her love of dance with her skillful knowledge of managing the front office. 

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Leah Lapic

Leah’s introduction to dance and Latin music began with a Zumba class in 2009 in her home state of Minnesota. She fell in love with Latin rhythms and began formal training with Byron Johnson in Salsa On1, Salsa On2 and Bachata in 2012. She traveled nationally and internationally to train, teach and perform with Social Dance Studio and the Minneapolis Salsa Movement. In 2015, they opened Duende Dance Studio where she was the studio manager and head instructor. In 2018, she moved to Miami and began working at UVLDA, where she continues to teach and train in multiple dance styles. Her passion is social dancing and you’ll often see her out dancing in Miami’s many Latin venues. Leah loves to help others discover the joy in movement and music. Her teaching style is engaging, entertaining and informative with a focus on helping students to be confident and considerate social dancers. With students ages 3 to 70, she firmly believes dancing is for everyone and it is never to late to learn!

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Rafael Valle

Ralph Valle was born and raised in Miami to Cuban parents. He started dancing at age 15 and has trained in many Latin dance forms including Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha Cha. He specializes in Cuban Casino Rueda, which he has been teaching for 9 years and has choreographed for and directed many teams who have performed in salsa and bachata congresses in the United Stated and Canada. Ralph has also choreographed many quinces and wedding choreographies, where he has been able to show his artistic and creative talent. Over the last several years he has also trained in on1 and on2 salsa styles. Ralph strongly believes in his ability to connect with his students and provide a positive and friendly class environment that allows his students to reach their maximum potential and help them take their dancing to the next level

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Silenia Rodriguez

Silenia Rodriguez was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Her love for dance was evident from a young age. Growing up, she was introduced to different forms of dance including Venezuelan folkloric dance, and she enjoyed performing at school events and local competitions. At the age of 19, she came to the United States to pursue her bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Once she graduated in 2013, she moved from Nashville, TN to South Florida where she found social dancing and started taking Salsa, Bachata and Zouk classes. Her passion for dance also inspired her to become a licensed Zumba® instructor. She was invited to assist in educational sessions in the 2017 and 2018 Zumba® Instructor Conventions in Orlando, Fl. Wanting to take her social dancing to the next level, she joined UVLDA as a student in January of 2018, that same year, she started training to become a Salsa and Bachata instructor. Currently, Silenia is one of the instructors in our Kids program where she experiences the joy of teaching our Salsa and Bachata curriculum to children ages 3 through 14. One of her main goals is to grow as a performer and represent UVLDA at congresses and competitions. 

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Michelle Goncalves

Michelle Goncalves was born in Sao Paula, Brazil. At the age of two she started to study Ballet at "Advance Ballet" in Brazil under the directions of Solange Neves Dos Santos. After almost a decade of studying Ballet, her attention turned to Tap dance. She studied Tap at "Kika Tap Center", one of the most traditional and prestigious Tap Dance Academies in Brazil. After another decade passed, she started to study Belly dance. She studied the Arabic culture and this genre of dance under the direction of Angelica Rodovia. In 2009, Michelle relocated to Miami to continue her study of dance.