Welcome to

Alegria Dance Studio

Natural Blur Backdrop

About Us

Maria Palacio- Owner and Artistic Director

Maria is the owner, instructor and artistic director of Alegria Dance Studio. Born in Madrid Spain, she moved to South Carolina in her late teens. Maria studied dance as a kid and as an adult, found her love for middle eastern dance. For the past 20+ years, she has studied with multiple teachers, traveling across the USA to learn from her mentors. Maria studies various styles including folkloric styles of Egypt, traditional middle eastern dance and its more modern forms. In 2008, she opened her studio in Columbia. She became Columbia’s first certified American Tribal Style Bellydance instructor and Sister Studio. She has earned several certifications and continues to pursue her studies. Maria is certified Level II in the Salimpour Format of Bellydance. Maria is also working on her 8 Elements of Bellydance certification with Rachel Brice. From 2017 until 2021, Maria taught middle eastern dance at the University of South Carolina. In October of 2020, she opened her studio in West Columbia. In the past few years, the studio has grown to offer Flamenco, Ballet, Contemporary, Hula and Yoga along with traditional and modern fusion bellydance.


ATS Certified Instructor - April 2011

Technique For Teachers (ATS) - August 2018

Salimpour Level II Certifications - Jan 2018

Datura - 8 Elements Certifications - Phase I, II and IV.

Over 20 years of dance experience.

Alegria Dance Studio is open to anyone that is interested in learning how to dance or to continue their dance study. We believe that everyone can pursue their dance dreams. We hold an open and safe space for you.

Our Classes

for everybody

Register for classes through our Punchpass website. Click here to register today!


Level I Bellydance (Fundamentals) - 12PM

Bellydance for Kids - 3:45

Flamenco for Kids - 4:25PM

Flamenco - Adults - 5PM

Level III Bellydance - 6PM

Level II Bellydance - 7PM

Level I Bellydance (Fundamentals) - 8PM


Restorative Yoga - 5:15PM (Studio B)

Modern Fusion Style Bellydance - Datura® Style - 6:15PM

American Fusion Bellydance - ATS® Style - 7:15PM

ATS Manton/Fan - 8:15PM


Ballet for Kids - 4:00PM

Hip Hop for Kids - 4:45PM

Fundamentals of Fusion Bellydance - 5:30PM

Ballet for Adults - 6:30

Contemporary Dance - 7:30PM


Hula - 5:30 (Studio B)

Strength and Stretch Yoga - 6:30 (Studio B)

Flamenco - 7PM

Bellydance Prop - 8PM

Alegria Team

Valerie “Walelia Kapuakaimi” Hostos found her love of dance at a young age and grew up with music and movement playing a big part of her life. She performed the folkloric dances of Puerto Rico asa member of Grupo Taíno for 10 years. She begain studying and performing Bellydance at Alegría Studio over a decade ago. She began studying Hawaiian Hula under the tutelage of Maupana Beauregard-Axelson and has advanced to instructing Hula with the goal of sharing her love and knowledge of Hawaiian culture in South Carolina through dance.

She is a member Halau Alohalani in Columbia, SC

Laura has always had artistic creation in her heart (painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic design, hairdressing), but never took a dance class until 2018 when she found Alegria. Dancing is like creating art with movement. With everything she does, she is ‘Always An Artist.

You can find her in Raqs Sharqi, ATS, Datura, Flamenco, ATS Mantón & Contemporary classes at Alegria. She believes in being a well-rounded dancer. Discovering dance has been life changing for her, and has become a spiritual practice as well.

Laura has a BFA in Fine Art and Education from the UofSc, and is the Owner of The Purple Chair, Columbia’s most creative, healing hair salon. Laura is our Social Media Designer and Videographer.

Missy LeAna started practicing yoga in 2014. She received her 230 hour Certification in July 2018 from Asheville Yoga Center, and my RYT 200 from the Yoga Alliance in August 2018. She has completed her 500 hour RYT.

Her goal is to help others find the inner peace, self-awareness and confidence, physical fitness, and wealth of love and friendships that the yoga community provides. Along the way, if she can inspire and help others find the will to pursue and fight for their dreams, persevere, take their shot, it will all be worth it!

Originally from Pennsylvania, Crystal began to call Columbia, SC home in 2004. She briefly left Columbia to live and work in LaPorte, IN before coming back and joining Alegria as a student in early 2017. Using her background in communications and many years of stage-managing experience, Crystal has helped around the studio as the Communications Chair, among various other hats she has worn when needed. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University in communication and journalism and an associate degree in computer and information science from Midlands Technical College. When not dancing, she is proofreading studio correspondence; writing press releases for events; helping plan and put on events at the studio; and working in the local film industry. She currently resides in West Columbia with her husband and three adorable kitties and works as a data analyst.

Krista Haidle is orginally from Pittsburgh, Pa. She has lived in SC since 2009 when she graduated college and began working as an Athletic Trainer for the United States Army. Krista's dance journey has followed her through the states as her education in health and wellness continues to expand.

Krista started dancing at the age of three at Steel City Academy of Dance (formally known as Pat's Dance Studio). Throughout her years at the studio she danced Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap and Acro. She was also on the High School Dance Team. Krista then went on to continue her dance journey and take up a minor in dance with Slipper Rock University. She worked mulitple summers as a choreographer for local highschools, winning McKeesport High School, Best Choreogrpahy,

Since the move to Columbia in 2009 Krista has once again found her love for dance. In 2019 she joined the Alegria Dance tribe and is proud to continue to be a student of Flamenco, Datura, ATS and Bellydance. She currently has the privledge of teaching Kids Ballet and Hip Hop as well as Adult Ballet and Contemporary. Alegria Dance studio has allowed for her to not only stay in her passion but finally pass down the gratitude of all the teachers before her by teaching others.


Vivid Stage Spotlights

Annual Variety Student Show

Just Dance

September 30 - 6:30PM

White Sparkling Stars

Alegria Dance Studio presents


White Sparkling Stars

SHAABI and Khaliji Workshop

October 14, 2023



White Sparkling Stars
White Sparkling Stars

Alegria Dance Studio


Performances, open dance, and shopping

October 14, 23

1125 B Ave, West Columbia

Come ready to dance!

Halloween Pumpkin
halloween carved pumpkin
Halloween Pumpkin
Colorful glitters
Colorful glitters
Colorful glitters
Arabic Pattern Design
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration

Alegria Raqs

Alegria Raqs

Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration

Live Middle Eastern Music and Dance Show

November 4, 2023

Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Colorful glitters
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Hanging Gold Lantern Illustration
Colorful glitters
Colorful glitters
Colorful glitters

Get in Touch

We are located at

1125 B Avenue, West Columbia, SC, 29169

Email Address

Phone Number