Dance Instructors

Johara Cusick
Bellydancing Instructor

Johara has been sharing the art of belly dance in the Boston area for over 15 years. She has performed her innovative blend of Middle Eastern cabaret, folkloric, and American fusion dance in Turkey, Greece, Brazil and across the United States. Some highlights include: Jordan Hall, the ICA Boston, Turkish Festival in Chicago, and Folk Festival in Inegol Turkey.

Johara is known for her musicality, fiery drum solos, and sensual veil-work.

As the artistic director of Snake Dance Theater, Johara has produced full scale theatrical shows since 2001. She draws on her knowledge and training in yoga, multiple dance forms (i.e. west African, Afro-Latin, Romani, Hip-Hop), and extensive studies in Middle Eastern and fusion dance with some of the world’s finest teachers (Morocco, Mahmoud Reda, Yousry Sharif, Yasmina Ramzy, and Suhaila Salinpour). She holds a masters degree in ESL Teaching, a certification in yoga instruction, a degree in Jazz vocals, and training in world percussion. Her teaching style is simple and clear. She fosters a fun and supportive classroom atmosphere where everyone, no matter what age, gender, size or shape, is welcome.

 Tessa Antolini
Ballroom Instructor

A champion Ballroom and competitive West Coast Swing dancer, Tessa Antolini has been sharing her passion for partnered dancing with students across New England since 2009. Formerly a nationally-acclaimed theater, film and television actress, with degrees from conservatories in Boston, London, and Los Angeles, Tessa began studying dance and music at the age of 2. She is known for bringing a sense of humor and a deep interest in the physics of dance to her teaching. She is passionate about giving the “average Jane & Joe” the opportunity to learn to move to music! Tessa opened Forte Dance in June 2014 and is thrilled to bring her expertise in West Coast Swing, Social, and American Smooth & Rhythm to dancers in the greater Boston area. When not on the dance floor, you’ll find her planting peonies or rolling in stinky things with her two beautiful hounds.


Valeriu Ursache
Ballroom Instructor

Valeriu Ursache is a professional ballroom instructor with 12 years professional experience training and competing in Ballroom International Style. Specializing in Standard and Latin ballroom styles, his classes help learn frame, posture, musicality and expression, timing, body alignment and shape, floor craft, and presentation. Ursache is a USA Ballroom Dance National Champion and is currently obtaining his B.A. in Dance at Dean College.


Clara Mills
Youth Dance Instructor

Clara is currently living in Boston, where she works as an instructor at New England Movement Arts in Burlington, MA. Growing up in Massachusetts, she started dancing at the age of three. Her senior year of high school she joined the Boston Ballet School where she performed in the professional production of The Nutcracker. Clara held a performing arts scholarship at the Palladino School of Dance at Dean College, where she graduated from in May 2015 with a BA in Dance and minor in Psychology. Here, she had studied ballet and pointe with Jill Silverman, Cosmin Marculetiu, Jeremy Ruth Howes, and Boston Ballet’s Laura Young; the Horton technique in modern with Gregory King; and jazz with Milsy Davis and Todd Shanks. In 2013 and 2015 she performed in Dean College’s dance companies, performing pointe pieces from Laura Young and Jeremy Ruth Howes. Clara has also worked with the Franklin Performing Arts Company in their 2012 and 2013 productions of The Nutcracker, dancing roles of Arabian soloist, Spanish soloist, flowers, and mouse queen. Outside of college, Clara has danced in several professional summer programs, including the Boston Ballet, the Boston Conservatory, Joffrey Ballet School in New York, and the American Ballet Theater in New York.