Widely regarded for his artistry and technical precision, Andre’ holds an array of national and international Latin titles, including: two-time World Masters Champion, US Open Professional Finalist, two-time US national Amateur Finalist, US National RS Champion, and UK Open RS Finalist. He has placed as a finalist or champion in all the major US competitions, and has been the highest ranked professional Latin competitor in New England for the last eight years.
Andre’ began his dance training in Ukraine at age six, and then moved to New York City, where he enhanced his ballroom training with a variety of other dance styles before making the decision to dance professionally. In 2005, he moved to Boston to open his first studio.
As a teacher and coach, Andre’ enjoys working with dancers of all backgrounds and abilities to help them advance to the next level. “I love it when my students realize something they thought was not possible,” he says. “Each student is different, and each student is special. I work to highlight what is most special about each of them.”
Andre’s students have achieved many successes over the years, including World Pro-Am C Champion, World Pro-Am B Silver Medalist, World Pro-Am A Bronze Medalist, and National Pro/AM A Silver Medalist. He has also worked extensively with collegiate dance teams for more than a decade, including Harvard University, MIT, Boston University, and the University of Connecticut.
When asked why he made the decision to become a dancer, Andre says, “I can’t imagine doing anything else. Dancing is a continuous self-discovery, and medium for self-growth. I love exploring those discoveries, and I love sharing them with my students.”
Ching Kao, Ph.D.
From the age of five, Ching has been inspired to dance. Influenced by dance luminaries such as John Welch, Alvin Ailey, and the Royal Ballet, she trained extensively in many styles of dance before finding her passion in International Latin.
As a Pro-Am dancer, Ching achieved great success – finishing 2nd in U.S. National Pro-Am Open Latin – while balancing her busy careers in science and business. In 2013, she made the transition to professional dancing, a move she describes as “a critical turning point, where I could no longer deny that being a dancer is as important to me as being anything else in my life—if not more important.”
As a professional, Ching has received coaching and training from some of the best in the world, including Bryan Watson, Hans Galke, Richard Porter, and Vibeke Toft. On the competition floor, she has placed as a finalist in numerous U.S. Competitions, and was a Dutch Open R.S. Latin Semi-Finalist.
As a teacher, she draws heavily on her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience to understand individual differences and learning styles. “It’s so important to me that I tailor my approach to each dancer,” she says. “When it comes to choreography, dynamics, expression…the movement needs to feel like it came from within the individual dancer.”
She is also passionate about sharing the wealth of knowledge she has gained from her teachers with her students at Firebeat. “Andre’ and I make it a point to instill a culture at our studio that dance is a constant education,” she says. “Not only for our students, but for our instructors, as well. Technique evolves, ideals of beauty evolve -- we want to ensure that we are offering the most advanced information from the people who are leading and creating the trends, and that we’re doing it in a way that even beginning dancers can benefit.”
Ching enjoys working with dancers of all levels, but specializes in Pro-Am coaching, adapting choreography, dance strategy, technique and styling. She particularly loves working with students who are passionate about setting and reaching their dance goals.
Brad’s dance journey began at age 14, when he signed up for ballroom lessons to impress a girl, and ended up falling in love with dance, instead.
A few years later, a move to Boston prompted him to explore the competitive side of ballroom, where he began to focus on International Latin. While teaching at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Brad received accolades as a Regional Professional Smooth/Rhythm Finalist and a Regional Top 10 Teacher. His passion for Latin then led him to Firebeat, where he quickly achieved a new goal—Professional Latin Rising Star Finalist at Capital Dancesport with his then partner, Ching Kao.
As an instructor, Brad enjoys teaching dancers of all levels, from social and wedding couples to competitive Pro-Am students. "I've seen how dance can transform people's lives," he says. "They become happier and more focused when they begin to see what’s really possible. You can tell when something starts to click for them – it’s exciting."
No matter your background or reason for coming to Firebeat, Brad looks forward to helping you fall in love with dance!
Kyung began his time at Firebeat the way many people do – as a student! After first discovering the ballroom world through social dancing, his natural aptitude for dance quickly earned him top accolades and awards as a member of the competitive Harvard Ballroom Dance Team. Kyung’s passion for dance soon brought him to Firebeat, where he and his partner began studying with Master Instructor Andrey Strinadko, and saw their dancing progress to new heights. When Firebeat moved from its original location in Allston to its new home in Winchester, Kyung made the move, as well. “It meant renting a Zipcar,” he laughs, “But I was dedicated to the Andrey dream!”
Now the newest Firebeat instructor, Kyung knows firsthand what it means to grow as a dancer under the expert guidance of Ching and Andrey. But he’s quick to note that what makes Firebeat special goes far beyond teaching. “There’s a real community of people who love to dance here,” he says. “Firebeat is very much invested in people. It’s about creating a safe, welcoming community where people want to dance for a long time.”
When he’s not dancing, Kyung is a licensed massage therapist, and enjoys incorporating his knowledge of body specificity into his teaching. He particularly loves working with newcomers to ballroom dancing, and brings a playful, encouraging approach to his group classes and private lessons. “I know how hard it can be, so I try to keep things light and fun for beginners,” he says. “Fun is what first drew me to ballroom dancing, and it’s my goal to inspire others to feel the same!”