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Andre' Strinadko, Master Instructor
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., Master Instructor
For Ching, ballroom dancing is both an art and a science. It’s also her passion.
When she made the decision to leave her successful career in neuroscience and transition to professional dancing full-time in 2013, she had no idea how much the two disciplines would continue to inspire and inform each other. Today, she continues to draw on her academic training to understand individual differences and learning styles, creating a unique fusion of diagnostics and problem-solving with a heartfelt, intuitive approach tailored for each student’s needs.
A lifelong dancer and champion herself, having placed as a finalist in numerous U.S. competitions throughout her career, Ching knows firsthand what it takes to build and sustain a dance journey. As a master coach, she is also continually inspired by her own coaches, who represent some of the best in the world. Her training has included deep mentorship with luminaries such as Bryan Watson, Hans Galke, Richard Porter, and Colin James. Although each brings a unique approach, she notes that they all offer tremendous clarity to what they prioritize as a dancer.
“There are many roads to the same place, and different techniques serve different bodies,” she explains. “After working with my coaches, I now understand why. That clarity is so powerful. They all teach from a multi-modal standpoint, because it’s important to make someone feel something before analyzing it. Feel first, analyze after. Your body is often smarter than your brain. And with a great coach, they know how to make you feel.”
Ching is also passionate about infusing the compassionate side of coaching throughout Firebeat, meeting students where they’re at, and addressing the whole person in every lesson. “As coaches, we are in the experience with you, and we’re rooting for you, but it’s not about us. It’s really about what the student needs, whether they are aware of it or not, and holding space for that discovery. Often, I am showing my students how to be kind to themselves. It’s another version of self-care.”
Within this judgement-free zone, Ching works with students of all levels, from wedding couples stepping on to the dance floor for the very first time, to the most seasoned international competitors. “Technique evolves, ideals of beauty evolve,” she explains. “Here at Firebeat, we always want to ensure that we are offering the most advanced information, and that we’re doing it in a way that even beginning dancers can benefit. We truly want to ignite your passion for dance!”
Brad Lowe, Instructor
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!
Athena McFarland, Front Desk Manager
Athena’s is often the first smiling face new students see when entering Firebeat for the first time. As our studio manager and professional instructor, she’s the engine that keeps Firebeat humming.
Although she has been dancing her entire life, Athena began studying ballroom seriously five years ago, eventually finding herself -- and her passion for Latin dance! -- at Firebeat. “Firebeat is such a unique and welcoming studio,” she explains. “Our team cares for whole student, and helps each dancer make a plan to achieve their individual goals. That’s incredibly rare!”
Within this supportive environment, Athena finds motivation and inspiration from watching other dancers grow and progress in their dance journeys. In addition to her Firebeat team members, she cites Amateur Latin couple Armen Tsaturyn and Svetlana Gudyno as a great source of inspiration. “They always look like they are having so much fun on the dance floor,” she says. “It makes me want to do the same!”
It’s this genuine passion and joy for dance that Athena hopes all students discover when they visit Firebeat, whether they have been dancing for years or are just taking their very first class. “We are all born with an innate desire to move,” she says. “My hope for all Firebeat students is that they have the opportunity to experience dance – and fall in love with it – the way that I have.”