Arthur Murray dance studios are proud for you to meet our team of dance instructors. Our diverse community of teachers brings you the talents of one of the most experienced teams anywhere. They have studied dance for years — here in the U.S. and around the world. They bring to Arthur Murray students both a global perspective and the expertise that makes it so quick and easy to enter the fun, friendly and satisfying world of dancing.

Joe & Leisa Howard – Owners

After 10 years of owning the Columbia Studio, Joe & Leisa have helped the staff and students reach new heights in achieving their dance goals. With a combined 29 years of teaching experience and 21 years of Studio Management, they have helped Arthur Murray Dance Center of Columbia become one of the top studios in the organization. Before taking over ownership of the Columbia studio, Joe & Leisa Howard managed the #1 Arthur Murray Dance Center in the world (over 270 studios in 21 countries) in Alexandria, VA. Additionally, they were very successful Professional Competitors, reigning 7 years as undefeated Arthur Murray Champions and culminating in a 2008 US National Championship! After achieving all of their dance hopes, Joe & Leisa are now eager to pass on their knowledge to their employees and all of their students. First, by creating fine social dancers… Then whatever their heart’s desire!

Ellias Velasquez – Instructor

Ellias is an Arthur Murray professional who works with new students, seasoned students, and other Arthur Murray professionals. He helps them prepare to dance for special events, at social or competitive venues, or to further develop dance teaching skills. “I believe in the Arthur Murray teaching system and curriculum. My success as an Arthur Murray Professional is product of it. My most compelling experience is that “Learning How To Dance” can be easy if we look good dancing, feel good to the partner that we are dancing with, and that the both of us look good while dancing.” Ellias started training at Arthur Murray in the Summer of 2006. He is trained in American Smooth, American Rhythm and Specialties Dances. He is currently working in Standard and Latin. When he gets asked which dance is his favorite? His response is that the dances change, every week. Because, honestly, all the dances are my favorites dances.”

Alex Miranda – Instructor

Nico Shavers – Instructor

Sarah Primavera – Instructor

Rachael Gordon – Instructor

Rachael started her dance journey in college while studying Theatre & Acting. She studied ballet as well as several Eastern dances such as Suzuki, Butoh, and Kabuki. After taking one dance lesson at Arthur Murray, she knew that she had found her passion in Ballroom dance. Now she enjoys bringing her wealth of movement knowledge to all students, knowing how dance can change people’s lives in the most amazing ways!

Vicky Blood – Instructor

Matthew Bryant – Instructor

Jessica Cummings – Front Office Administrator

Jessica, despite being in the office, has always loved dance. Having been in musical theatre and acting classes since she was six years old, quite a variety of dancing has been asked of her over the years. She found later on in life how much she loved contributing to an artistic team and coming to Arthur Murray Columbia seemed an amazing fit!