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.
Born in Lima, Peru and relocated to NYC as a young teenager, where she pursued her dream in the performing arts. Her training includes a wide range of styles. Teresa became a New York Salsa champion at the age of 19 and trained in all Ballroom styles under the wing of Maksim Chmerkovskiy (for which studios she taught for over 7 years and is DVIDA certified). She completed the professional dance program at Broadway Dance Center, where she later on taught several Latin fusion classes. Teresa is a well known dancer, choreographer and actor. She has played lead roles in the immersive theater production Carmen, to Havana and back (NYC), been the female swing of Sergio Trujillo’s Arrabal, and can be seen as a featured dancer in the films such as Father of The Bride Bride and In The Heights. She has also participated as principal dancer and choreographer on Univision’s Mira Quien Baila (2017-2022) and has been a back-up dancer for several world renowned Latin artists in award shows, music videos and international tours. Such artists include Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Maluma, Daddy Yankee, Guaynaa, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Elvis Crespo, Farruko, to name a few.
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.
Elvis Collado is a dancer, instructor, choreographer and director from New York City. His expertise in Latin dancing has led him to teach and perform all over the world, in various cities across North and Latin America, as well as Europe and Asia. He has contributed to the growth of Latin dancing around the world in genres such as Salsa, Cha Cha Cha, Latin Hustle, Bachata and Merengue and has won numerous Dance Titles at World Competitions. As a performer, aside from his numerous congress and festival performances, he has appeared in the feature films, “In the Heights” and “Shine”. He was the Dance Captain and Assistant Choreographer for the Off Broadway Production of “Carmen” in New York City. Elvis has also danced and represented many top Latin Musical artists, both in live concert performances, and on national and international television. He recently completed a contract for the musical “On Your Feet”. Elvis’ dance education is broad, studying both Classical and Ballroom style dance forms in addition to his extensive Salsa, Bachata and Latin Hustle training. He has used this education to further advance and mature his dancing and the education of his students. This has been a crucial part of his career as he believes one truly, never stops learning.
Alicia Morris is a dancer, performer, and instructor for adult learners of Salsa On 2 and Traditional Bachata, as well as a leadership coach, HR consultant, and team effectiveness workshop facilitator. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Alicia's love of Latin music and dance genres was sparked through learning Spanish in grade school, exploring the work of multi-hyphenate Cuban American performing artist Gloria Estefan, and discovering the 1988 dance movie "Salsa." In the mid-aughts, she began to channel the skills developed from participation in team sports into dance via Salsa (Mambo) classes at Chicago-based Latin Street Music & Dancing, then co-owned and operated by Lisa "La Boriqua" and Andrés Meneses II. Following sporadic forays into social dancing over the years and even training in Brazilian Samba at Brazil Show (Prague) with Sofie Toris and Carlos da Silva, Alicia began her dance career in earnest in 2010 following relocation to South Florida with progressive classes in Cuban Salsa and Rueda de Casino. In 2017, Alicia transitioned to UV Latin Dance Academy, where she began studying formal technique, body movement, and styling for New York style and Traditional Bachata; eventually performing and competing; and, most recently, teaching beginner-level classes for adult learners. She recently resumed her journey as a performer with the Mambo Delicias, led by Carolina Delise, and will be joining the UV Advanced Ladies Team in the 2023 performance season. Alicia holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish with distinction in the major from Yale University, an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and professional certifications in Human Resources and Evidence-Based Coaching. She's also studied and resided in Spain, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Brazil.
Vlad came to the USA from Russia, as an international exchange student. He graduated with a Bachelors degree in Accounting & Finance and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He was a pre-med student at University of Wisconsin, Madison and a financial analyst in Chicago before moving to Miami. Vlad started as a student at UV Latin Dance academy and fell in love with Latin dancing. He is known for his tedious break-down of lead and follow technique, which students truly appreciate and value. Vlad has performed on several teams and has participated in Pro-Ams at UV Latin Dance. In 2022, he decided to take the UV Teacher Certification Course and later applied for a job. He currently teaches level's 1-4 in North Miami Beach and Boca Raton Locations.
Marilyn Zabaleta was born on September 5, 1996 in Miami, Florida, but grew up in Argentina. She started dancing from the age of 9 with ballet, belly dance, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. She also studied acting and musical comedy, including singing. In school she studied as a makeup artist, event planner, professional model and graphic designer. Marilyn Zabaleta was a member of "Diferentes" Dance Company who was runner-up at The 2017 World Latin Dance Cup in Orlando. She took 3rd place at The 2018 "Salsa Na Ma" International Competition in Uruguay, organized by Fernando Soza and 5th place at The 2018 Salsa Summit in Cordoba, Argentina. She has dedicated herself to teaching Salsa and Bachata since 2022 in different dance academies in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina. In 2021 she started her own dance company made up of 5 couples which was named "Clandestinos Bachata Team".
Rachel Caro is a dancer with a lifelong passion for movement. Having started dancing at the age of four, Rachel's journey began with ballet, jazz, tap, and gymnastics, showcasing her diverse skill set and love for artistic expression. Throughout her upbringing, Rachel actively participated in local and school theater productions in New Jersey, with diverse roles that helped foster her ability to perform as a triple threat: dancing, singing and acting. During her high school and college years, she explored cheerleading and the school dance team, further expanding her dance repertoire. In 2017, Rachel moved to South Florida and discovered her true calling in Salsa and Bachata, immersing herself in the vibrant world of Latin dance. She embraced her passion and began teaching and performing these dance forms. Rachel’s most recent accomplishment is showcasing her dancing and acting skills in the international feature film "Lonesome Jack," set to debut in London in September 2023. As an instructor, Rachel shares her expertise and love for dance with enthusiastic students. With a combination of passion, years of experience, and unwavering dedication, Rachel Caro continues to inspire aspiring dancers and make her mark in the dance community.
Lon Wilkinson III, is a ballroom, Latin and Theater Arts teacher and choreographer. Born and raised in Alabama, he began his dance career at age 18, teaching and then managing Starlight Ballroom as well as teaching at three local colleges, University of South Alabama, Springhill University, and The University of Mobile. After spending five years at Starlight Ballroom, he opened his own school in Foley, AL, which he spent the next four years growing before selling it. He relocated to Louisiana to train with Anthony Carinhas at Louisiana Ballroom and later took a position at Luna Ballroom to work and train under six time Theater Arts Champion Eric Luna, where he had the opportunity to compete in Theater Arts. He now resides in Sunrise, FL where he instructs at Goldcoast Ballroom in Coconut Creek, FL and UV Latin Dance Academy in Boca Raton.