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About Maria 

Maria Palacio starting dancing at a young age with ballet and jazz.  Over time her passion for dance grew into other styles including flamenco, traditional latin dances and more, performing at local latin festivals in South Carolina.   In 2003 she saw a flyer offering bellydance classes at a local gym.  She started taking classes and was soon hooked.  She studied traditional oriental dance “raq sharqi”, American Tribal Style® (ATS®) and tribal fusion.   She soon became a valuable member of Delirium Tribal in 2005 performing around the Southeastern states and a founding member of Alternacirque until it dissolved in 2014.  Maria also pursued here solo career, performing all over the US and teaching workshops throughout the southeast.  She is known for combining her spanish heritage and flamenco flare into her bellydance style.   She continues her dance education through workshops / intensives and private lessons with various  master instructors.  Maria is a certified ATS instructor since 2011, providing lesson all over SC and GA while maintaining her studies with master ATS instructors.  In 2017, Maria started teaching beginning bellydance at the University of South Carolina as a credited class lecturing on history and movement vocabulary.  She also continues her studies in raqs sharqi and folkloric styles, wanting to provided her students information, history and dance from where it all came from. 



FCBD® ATS General Skills – 2011
FCBD® ATS Teacher Training – 2011
ATS® Continuing Education Hours – 2014 (12 hours), 2015 (30 hours), 2016 (50 hours), 2017 (2)
Journey Through Egypt I & II
JtE Sa’idi Intensive Certificate – April, 2015
Certified Suhaila Salimpor Technique Level I in 2013.    
Certified Jamila Salimpour Technique Level I in 2014 and Level II in 2018
Mira Betz Weeklong Intensive – August, 2015

8 Elements Certification - Completed Initiation and Cultivation. 

Studied with the following instructors: 

Suhaila Salimpour, Sahra Saeeda, Aziza from Montreal, Carolena Nericco, Rayna Renee, Rachel Brice, Bozenka, Amy – Umata, Mira Betz, Moria, Devi – Ghwazee Caravan, Amani Jabril, Yasmine, Lebanese Simon, Rita of Habi'Ru and more!

Alegria Bellydance is Columbia’s first dance studio dedicated to the art of Raqs Sharqi (Bellydance) and other world dances.   From Tribal fusion to ATS® or traditional, spanish fusion to folkloric,  you choose your style.   Also available for private, group and workshops lessons. Send Maria an email at

FatChanceBellyDance®, FCBD®, ATS® and American Tribal Style®, are federally registered trademarks of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc. For more information, please visit

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