Vera Rowe, co-owner of UVLDA, is nine 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.
Uriel Garcia, co-owner of UVLDA, is nine 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.
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!
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
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.
Leticia was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the youngest of four siblings in an artistic and culturally rich family. Inspired from an early age by her mother, a trained opera singer, music, rhythm and dance took hold and became a permanent part of her life. This led her to take on artistic projects including managing and co-producing shows for an acapella group throughout Brazil at the age of 18. Dance genres such as Samba, Salsa, Flamenco, Belly Dance, Forro, Afro-Haitian and many others attracted her over the years, and ever since have been her creative companions alongside her other professional endeavors. After graduating from aviation school, Leticia worked as a Cabin Chief for a Brazilian airline and also later in the USA. Having a career of over 10 years in the aviation industry added to her skills in interpersonal development, communication, and leadership. After having children, she turned her focus to entrepreneurship and interior design, where she received the honors award for best student in Interior design in Miami. This led her to opportunities designing spa concepts, restaurant projects, and spaces for the Untitled Art Fair at Art Basel in 2019 and 2021. In 2018 the call of dance was too loud to ignore and she joined UVLDA as a student to improve her dance abilities. At UV, she had the opportunity to participate in several competitions as part of teams and in the Pro-AM categories with professionals Uriel Garcia and Rafael Valle, winning first, second and third places in Cha cha cha, Bachata , Salsa and Casino. In early 2021 Leticia auditioned and joined Desiree Godspell Bachata ladies Team in NY. Later in 2021 Leticia had the honor to train with and share the stage with Vera Rowe at the academy's yearly showcase bringing her dance to the next level. At the showcase she was awarded the UVLDA Female Student Showcase Award, inspiring her to join UV as an instructor, where she could help share the gift of dance and the inspiration she felt to others. Leticia's energy and positivity are contagious and she finds joy in helping people rediscover themselves through dance and realize their true potential.
Melanie Castillo, born and raised in New York City, is a professional Latin Dancer. Having Puerto Rican and Dominican roots, she is no stranger to Latin music and dance. Melanie began her formal training at the age of 5 at Rising Stars Dance Studio where she was introduced to ballet, jazz, tap, and other forms of dance. She was accepted into the dance program at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, in which she further studied modern, lyrical, and jazz. In 2009, she took up Salsa at the Lorenz Latin Dance Studio in Queens, and quickly realized that her passions lied within this dance. It was so close to home with a strong connection to her roots and her culture. The following year, Melanie began working with Sekou McMiller and Nelson Flores, exposing her to different styles of Salsa and Latin dance. Everything launched to new heights for her in 2011 when she started competing with Elvis Collado. That same year, she started working with Ismael Otero’s company, Caribbean Soul, and became one of the founders/members of the lady group, Las Damas. In 2012, Melanie took on the role of Head Instructor and Choreographer at the Salsa Sensation Dance Studio in Long Island, NY. Since then, she has held teaching positions at Rhythmology (Long Island), Balmir Latin Dance Studio (Brooklyn), Piel Canela Latin Dance and Music school (Manhattan), La Luna Dance Studio (Pennsylvania), Borough of Manhattan Community College (Manhattan), Caribbean Soul Dance School (Jersey City), and AlgoRhythm (South Jersey). The creation of her own team, Candela Dance Company, created in 2012, ultimately propelled her creativity even further. They hold the 2017 title in the Open Female Shines Team category and the 2019 title in the Pro-Am Female Shines Team category at the World Salsa Summit, an annual Latin dance competition that brings competitors from around the world. Melanie continues her Dance journey as a UV Latin Dance Instructor, specializing in Shines, Body Movement and Ladies Styling. She is now the director of The UV Advanced Ladies Styling Team.
Bio coming soon...
Bio coming soon...