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Our Story

How We Got Started


Leta Tavares, Artistic Director/Founder

Our mission at Uptown is to provide students of all levels with more than just dance classes, but a unique experience in which the student can grow both mentally and physically as a dancer. Our highly trained and certified instructors have a wealth of experience in teaching and performing various styles and disciplines.

Leta Yolanda Tavares began her dancing career with Mildred and Paul Kennedy at the tender age of 5. She continued her studies in ballet, tap, jazz , acrobatics, point and African dance with Andrea Herbert Major and the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts.

At 17, Leta decided to pursue a career as a professional dancer, actress and model, where she began professionally with the Danny Sloan Dance Company and the Jeanette Neil Dance Company. From there she went to study further on scholarship at Harvard University, Boston University, University of Las Vegas, Alvin Ailey School NYC and many others.

Leta received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts in business and decided to open her own dance studio, the Uptown Dance Center in 1985 celebrating 36 years to date. She then went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Performing Arts from Emerson College. Leta has also performed professionally for L’OREAL and SOFTSHEEN traveling extensively across the USA and Europe. She could be seen in many other productions, print ads, commercials and films as well. She has taught at many local dance studios and as a substitute teacher for Boston Public Schools for over 25 years.

She has been certified to teach Group Fitness, Dance and Cheer by the Athletics Fitness Association of America and the Youth Cheer and Dance Alliance.

However her greatest love and passion is her family, teaching her students and owning and operating the Uptown Dance Center.




Aura Pavlova Tavares/Assistant Director

Aura Tavares was born into the arts. With Leta Tavares as her mother, and the middle name “Pavlova” (after the famous ballerina who originally performed the dying swan in Swan Lake) she was destined to dance. As soon as she could walk she was in dance class, later on assisting and demonstrating as a teacher’s assistant, and then teaching classes of her own. She has also attended Boston Ballet, Tony William’s School of Dance, and Ellis Gymnastics to supplement and diversify her skills. Aura was accepted to and attended Boston Arts Academy as a dance major, and studied under many well known dancers, instructors and choreographers including Cosmin Marculetiu, ballet master and former principal dancer in the Romanian National Ballet;Thai Jiminez, former soloist of the Dance Theatre of Harlem; Pedro Ruiz of Ballet Hispanico, and Robert Battle, Nathan Trice, and Ronald K. Brown all affiliated with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She has attended many intensive programs with The Gold School, Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre and Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts. She was the lead for three consecutive years as well as many other various roles in The Urban Nutcracker. She has been crowned in various pageants, and has modeled in various commercials, fashion shows and print ads. She has also choreographed a routine for the talent segment of Miss Black Massachusetts in which her client was crowned in 1st place. Aura now spends her time sharing the extensive training she has learned with the students of the Uptown Dance Center, some of which students were recently cast in Debbie Allen’s production Brothers of the Knight.

Here at Uptown Dance Center, we have a passion for the art of dance and for helping others discover their inner dancer. Are you ready to get up and move? Contact us today to learn more about our studio.

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