Regine Elibert was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Regine has always had a passion for both dance and music as they are deeply rooted in Haitian culture. She started her relationship with dance at the young age of 8, when she was enrolled by her mom in one of the main ballet schools in Haiti. At the age of 20, she decided to take ballroom lessons and for about a year she learned different genres of dance such as salsa, cha-cha-cha, rumba and samba.
She was introduced to the Florida salsa scene 3 years ago. One day, as she was attending a salsa social, a late salsa icon approached her and told her how she loved to watch her dance. That was the spark that motivated Regine to enroll at UV Latin Dance Academy and start training with World Champions Uriel and Vera. When asked about dance in general: “Dance has become an essential part of my life and is a way to express myself through connecting with the music and connecting with a dance partner. I feel grateful to have found my coaches as they inspire and push me to be the best dancer that I can be.
John Reyes was born in New Jersey. He finished his college degree in Puerto Rico and his job and career led him to live in NY. His pride of his nationality and culture always led him to the music of Salsa. He finally found his real enjoyment for the dance when he moved to Florida and began to take classes. "I would have to say my interest in dancing actually started for me with Salsa music. I find Salsa so very descriptive and moving in its words and rhythms that having latin roots and being Puerto Rican hold a special feeling for me when I listen to it.” Starting with UV in 2015 John discovered a much needed style of instruction that would help him bring his dancing to another level. And as luck would have it he discovered a new passion for another style of dance that was unexpected. "Well Uri who is Dominican and whose love for bachata could only be surpassed I believe by the love I have for Salsa has opened my eyes to a new world of Dominican Bachata, one that I had not, up to less than a year ago, even particularly cared for. But both Vera and Uri have showed me the passion, the complexity and the style not only in their instruction but in their own dancing of how the Dominican style of Bachata should be danced and expressed on the dance floor.” “Their work ethic and style are an inspiration to all of us."
Born in Rochester, Minnesota, Julie began her formal dance education at the age of 3, training in classical ballet for over 25 years, and also studying jazz, lyrical, and modern dance. Julie continued dancing throughout college, earning several performance leads, solos, and awards. Upon graduation, Julie spent a summer in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet intensively studying the Vaganova ballet method. She returned to Rochester thereafter to teach ballet and lyrical classes while also studying ballroom dance. Through her ballroom competitions she earned awards in American cha cha, rumba, swing, mambo, bolero, waltz, foxtrot and tango. Julie began dancing L.A.-style (On1) salsa and Casino (Cuban-style) salsa in 2004, performing in several international festivals and social events. Upon moving to Miami in 2006, she received much of her formal salsa training at Salsa Karibe, where she studied On1 salsa from 2007-2010, performing with the pro team and the Born to Salsa team at many Salsa Congresses as well as private functions. From 2011-2013, she studied modern dance and lyrical jazz with Brazilian choreographer Roberto Dias and danced with his company, Brazarte. After a few years' hiatus from intensive dancing, Julie began studying On2 salsa and Bachata at UV Latin Dance in July of 2016. During her time at the academy, she has had the privilege of performing with the Ladies Styling Team and the Advanced Ladies Team and is also a member of the Open Level Team (partnerwork). Julie is excited to continue her training with Uriel and Vera, combining her love of classical dance with her passion for Latin dance.
31 year old Gilianne "Jill" was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti and began dancing at the age of four. After watching dirty dancing and Michael Jackson's "Bad" video, she was impressed and asked her parents to enroll her in dance classes; her first dance teacher was Lavinia Williams. She trained in ballet, hip-hop, and Haitian folklore for 12 years until she moved permanently to the United States when she was 16 and had to stop dance classes due to financial reasons. She always had an eye for Latin dancing since she was 10 years old but didn't get to start formal training until 10 years later. She has a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University and a Pharm.D. from The Ohio State University; dancing helps her find a balance with her busy life as a pharmacist. Additionally, Jill is currently training in aerial sports, aerial arts and flexibility. As a UV Latin Dance team member, Jill hopes to challenge herself and dance her heart out as she has always dreamed.Type your paragraph here.
Katherine Lopera was born in New Jersey and raised in Medellin Colombia. She grew up listening to Tango and Bolero music. At the age of 19 Katherine moved to Miami to attend University of Miami. She played French Horn in several Symphonic Bands and currently enjoys learning about other instruments. Katherine started dancing in a work study at The Naples Tango Club. As she became involved in the Miami Salsa Scene, she heard about UV Latin Dance Academy and eventually started attending their classes. Shortly after that, she auditioned for the UV performance team and was excited to find out she made it! She has now been a part of the UV family for over a year and continues to attend all the course work, as her main goal is to become the best dancer that she can be.
Vera Rowe, co-owner of UVLDA, is seven time World Salsa, Bachata and Hustle Champion. She has been dancing Salsa and Bachata since 2000. 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 China. 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.
Rodney De Paz was born and raised in Peru. Born from both European parents, he was never exposed to Latin music until he met his wife Carla, a Colombian avid dancer. In order to try to keep up with her, he joined a salsa dance studio 3 years ago where he developed a passion for Salsa. Having been a competitive Tennis player, his lifetime passion, he adopted salsa dancing as his new passion. He performed on the student dance team of another school for a little over a year until he joined UV Latin Dance. After several months of working hard to improve his skills, he was accepted on their Open Level Dance Team. Their teaching skills, attention to detail and professional disposition as well as creating a personable environment are an inspiration to all of their students.
Claudine Motto was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her love for Salsa, which began when she was living in New York, was what sparked her wanting to learn how to dance. But she feels she didn't start seriously dancing until she moved to Florida and started taking Salsa classes consistently and discovered socials, some time in 2012. She then started training with UV around June of 2015, to which she credits a newfound love for Bachata, especially the Dominican style. She loves to dance because "dancing is so many things wrapped into one - it challenges me, it pushes me out of comfort zones, it lets me control yet it forces me to let go. It's a state of constant learning, which I love, and a constant source of inspiration to want to stay fit, and looking good. It is a gift that adds to my life in so many ways."
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.
Meli Evans, the UV Marketing director and co-owner of UV Latin Dance Online, was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Puerto Rico. Her mother was a major influence for her love of dance along with her father who was a percussionist for latin jazz bands in the Bronx NY and Miami Fl. Being born into music and dance, Meli followed that passion for latin dance when she started taking beginner On 2 salsa classes at Casa Salsa. After performing in their student dance team along with a few years of social dancing, Meli learned about UV Latin Dance, where she now performs in the open level dance team and also emcees their monthly socials. When asked where she gets the energy for salsa and bachata dancing Meli's response is "La música es mi oxígeno, bailar es mi terapia"
Chike Gardiner was born and raised in Toronto, Canada with parents from Trinidad and Tobago. He works as a senior transformational leader within the Financial Services IT sector and regularly travels throughout the US. He is an avid cross fit enthusiast, chef, and finds it gratifying participating in competitive sports, volunteering with Habitat for humanity and partnering with organizations who feed the homeless. He always had a love for Latin dancing but was never truly exposed until joining Casa Salsa in South Florida. He challenged himself and joined the performance student team, where he shared the stage with amazing teammates and instructors. Chike then crossed paths with UV Latin dance where he was inspired to deepen his focus on technique and attention to detail in his dance journey. He decided to accept a new challenge and joined the UV Latin dance open level team. He is excited about this new adventure and strives to transition into “Chikesito” a dancer with the ability to connect with the music and not showing off an array of moves. But to effectively execute dance moves flawlessly focusing on the most important part of social dancing which is making the lady look fantastic.
Angie Lira was born and raised in Venezuela where dancing is a huge part of the culture. She moved to Miami, Florida in 2007 where she enrolled in a dance class with the hopes of meeting new people that shared her passion for dance. In 2009 she started dancing Casino at Salsa Mia. After 3 months, she attended The Miami Salsa Congress where she fell in love with the ON1 performances and decided to take ON1 classes herself. Angie then began taking classes at Salsa Karibe and soon after she started performing with them at several venues and congress events throughout the United States. After 4 years performing with the Salsa Karibe team, she received a promotion at work which required her to travel often and sadly meant she would need to cut back on her dancing . After a short break from dance, she was ready for her next challenge and she started ON2 & Bachata classes with Uriel and Vera at UV Latin Dance Academy in September, 2015 where she also joined their open level team. Angie is excited to see where her future with the team will lead and is looking forward to taking her dancing to the next level.
Hazael (Eduardo) Rojas 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."
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sally discovered her love for dancing at the tender age of 3. The world of dance and music has been a major influence in Sally's life for as long as she can remember. While in high school Sally began to recognize her love and talent for choreographing original dance pieces. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 2006 Sally began her career as lead dance instructor for Berkley Charter School in Auburndale, Fl. This path fell perfectly in line with Sally's love for dance and children. It is in this capacity that Sally radiates her passion for dance by passing her talents to many young dancers. After 9 years at Berkley Sally continued her career as a dance instructor at Aventura Charter School where she teaches Dance and ELA. Sally also works as a summer arts program choreographer and has choreographed “Seussical”, “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” and “My Son Pinocchio” for the Hollywood Art and Culture Center. Sally feels so blessed to have found a dance studio like UVLDA, where the instruction is the best of the best. She is a member of the Ladies Styling Team and looks forward to all of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. It is a pleasure to continue growing as a dancer and performer.