New England Dance Academy
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New England Dance Academy
165 John Dietsch Square
North Attleboro, MA 02763

(508) 699-4959

NEDA Faculty

An All-Star Faculty for those just starting their dance training as well as students with exceptional technique and ability. NEDA offers innovative classes for young children and classes to prepare the young dancer for the professional level - we have something for everyone! Our teachers are highly dedicated in helping each child progress and reach their highest potential.

Congratulations to the New England Dance Academy Faculty who were named Tops in Dance Education for the entire Northeast Region! What an honor!




Courtney d' Olivera holds over 15 National Titles in Dance and Acrobatics, including JR Miss Dance USA and JR Miss Acrobat USA. Her professional Dance Career began in the OFF BROADWAY MUSICAL "One". In 2003, Courtney was chosen to represent the United States
in the WORLD SHOW DANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS in Riesa, Germany. There she competed
and won the Adult Championship Dance Division.

Courtney's dynamic and well rounded experience allows her to teach students of all levels, all ages and all genres. Her students have excelled both on the recreational and competitive level. Her choreography for soloists and performing dance teams have won countless, Regional, National and Title High Score Awards.

Courtney's expertise, knowledge and instruction has had a remarkable impact on the growth of her students. She strives to inspire her dancers, not only in the classroom, but in life itself. Her goal is to provide a healthy positive dance environment where her students will continue to grow and thrive.


Erin Fort


Erin Fort has been a member of the NEDA family since our grand opening in 1990. She spent most of her childhood in the dance studio, and she danced and competed with NEDA until her high school graduation in 2002.

In 2006, Erin received her BFA from The University at Buffalo. Upon graduation, Erin dedicated herself to teaching. She has worked with many prestigious companies including: The Martha Graham Dance Company, Gus Giordano Dance Chicago and The Doug Varone Company. She returned to her roots and began teaching at NEDA. Fast forward 11 years later, and Erin is now a Senior Member of the NEDA Faculty. She teaches all levels and ages with a speciality in musical theater. Her competition teams and dance clubs have won numerous awards and accolades. Her choreography has been awarded high score awards and special judges' recognition.


Judy Weliand


Judy Weiland is a graduate of Bridgewater State University. She is renowned for her compassionate and nurturing teaching style. Miss Judy utilizes the NEDA preschool dance program to inspire her young students. She encourages her young dancers to experience the magic and creativity of dance through music and self-expression.

Judy has been with NEDA since 2007, she is endeared by her students of all ages. Her goal is to provide a safe, loving dance environment for her little steps and young children's program students so they will fully embrace the spirit of the art. When a dancer graduates from miss Judy's preschool class  they will be more confident, socially intelligent and asking for more!


Nichole Pinto


Nichole Pinto is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and martial artist. She started dancing at the age of 5 with Donna Carter’s Dance Studio and later danced for the Hope Specht’s School of Dance. Throughout her dance career she has won numerous awards, including Miss Acrobat of the United States in 1994. At the Terpsichore dance competition she was the youngest dancer in the Master’s division as a soloist.

Having danced nationally and internationally, Nichole has developed experience in a wide range of cultural dances. She has performed with the Cape Verdean Taekwondo Olympic team in the Cape Verde Islands, and was also a member and choreographer for the traveling dance group Viajantes, an interdisciplinary dance company.

Nichole studied nursing at the Community College of Rhode Island and obtained her nursing
license in 2015. Currently she works as a full-time school nurse at the Segue Institute for
Learning in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Throughout this time, she has continued to share her
passion and energy as an instructor at NEDA.

Nichole also teaches a wide range of cultural dances and an Afro-Brasilian martial art called Capoeira at New Wave Martial Arts and Fitness in Warwick, Rhode Island. Nichole remains committed to creating an inviting, respectful and educational classroom experience that promotes teamwork and self-confidence.




Neenah Cruz has danced for the past 24 years. She has received influential training in Rhode Island from her AMAZING dance teacher, Hope Specht. She has also worked with and trained with top choreographers through out New York and Atlanta.

Neenah has won many awards and titles throughout the U.S. She has also gotten recognition from the United States Tournament of Dance and received from them the "Judges Award of Excellence". Neenah was privileged to be a part of two U.S Dance teams. One led her to perform at such places as Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Magic Kingdom, Universal, for Fox News, the WNBA, and the NBA teams NY Knicks and Philadelphia Seventy Sixers. The world U.S dance team led her to perform at the "World Dance Show" in Riesa, Germany against 30 other countries. It was there that Neenah became the Silver Medalist for her solo dance performance in the open category as well as a silver medalist in the duet category for her tap duo.

Neenah has enjoyed teaching for the past 12 years and has taught throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Atlanta. She is ready to take your students and children to the next level.

Josh Perez


In 2010 Josh Perez made his television debut on the 5th season of MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew". In 2012 he was a back-up dancer for Jordan Knight on the "Live and Unfinished" tour. In early 2017 he choreographed and was showcased on the new hit reality TV show "World of Dance" by Jennifer Lopez.

Josh's style goes beyond hip hop, Josh is the real deal with the perfect combination of natural ability, learned skills and determination. With the emerging popularity of Hip Hop, his high energy, fun and original classes are a game changer for today's youth. Josh brings a fresh, new, authentic style to the classroom and he is excited to be able to share his love of movement with all of his students.


Ashley Andries


Ashley Andries began dancing at the age of 5 and received her early ballet training at the Eastern Connecticut Ballet. She attended several summer programs including Boston Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, as well a performing in the Youth America Grand Prix for 2 years.

Ashley completed her last three years of schooling with Festival Ballet in Providence, and soon after joined the company at age 17. She has performed in numerous productions, such as Balanchine’s Rubies and Donazetti Variations, Antony Tudors Leaving are Fading, danced the lead in Romeo and Juliet, and various soloist roles in Nutcracker, including the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Other various works have included pieces by Viktor Plotnikov, Avichai Scher, and Mihailo Djuric. She also has danced as a guest artist for many schools and companies throughout the New England.

Ashley’s passion for the art of ballet has not only allowed her to perform, but has also lead her to quite the career as an instructor. She shares her art as a faulty member at New England Dance Academy and she is always excited to train and influence her students in the wonderful world of ballet!




Originally from Japan, Harry Yaimakawa received formal training with Nowa Ballet School in Kanagawa, Japan, as well as with John Cranko School in Stuttgart, Germany.

Harry performed professionally with National Company of Portugal, Colorado Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Festival Ballet Providence. Also, Harry performs often as a guest in Japan and the USA. Harry enjoys classical ballet, and also contemporary choreographers, including working with George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, Dwight Rhoden, Helen Pickett, and Mauro Bigonzetti. His repertory includes the Nutcracker Prince and Cavalier from The Nutcracker, James from La Sylphide, Peter from Peter and the Wolf, and various roles in Swan Lake, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Who Cares?, Kazimir’s Colours, Dracula, Four Seasons, Moments of Dis, Rush, Eden/Eden, and Prayer of Touch.

Harry believes strongly in teaching ballet from the fundamentals to ensure health and safety in the development of professional dancers. By participating in ballet, young dancers can learn life lessons including patience, respect, listening deeply, and finding one’s own way to improve and express.


julie wade


Julie Wade brings an extensive knowledge of dance and gymnastics to her students. She has trained with some of the countries top Gymnastics Coaches at Northeastern University. She become USGA safety certified while she completed her Health and Physical Education degree from Bridgewater State University.

Teaching all levels of acrobatics, contortion and dance, Julie's classes are full of energy, fun and always exciting.




Elissa DiBona Verwholt twirled her way into the dance studio at only 2 years old! At 6, she auditioned for the Boston Ballet School, and spent the following 12 years seriously studying the Vaganova (Russian) tradition of ballet. She performed with The Company for several years in the critically acclaimed The Nutcracker at the Wang Center in Boston. To compliment her ballet training, Elissa also studied tap, jazz, and lyrical genres, competing regionally and nationally throughout New England. She continued her studies at Hofstra University in New York, pursuing a degree in dance, as well as minoring in Creative Writing and Psychology. While at Hofstra, Elissa was introduced to classic Modern styles, such as Graham and Horton technique. She was asked to represent the Dance Department twice at the American College Dance Festival (ACDF). While living in New York, Elissa sought out extra dance education by taking open classes at STEPS on Broadway, and Broadway Dance Center.

In 2005, she was the co-founder and Artistic Director of the FAITH Dance Project, a nonprofit, 501©3 organization. Elissa is pursuing a graduate degree from Boston University, studying Performing Arts Management, and is currently teaching throughout the New England area, including a position on faculty at Stonehill College.

Miss Elissa firmly believes that when the natural ability of a child is nurtured, you find the recipe for success. She has decades of experience in the dance field, and is extremely effective in communicating her detailed knowledge of technical skills to all students; from the baby’rinas, to adults.

Miss Elissa is excited to share her love of ballet and all things #pinkandsparkly with the next generation of dancers!




Tina Clarke is not only an amazing dance instructor she is also the resident Office Manager. Delivering outstanding customer service has always been as essential part of the NEDA experience.

As Office Manager, Tina is responsible for all of the day-to-day operations behind the desk, and she is able to answer any questions or concerns! Having a strong dance background has made her an integral part of our team. The entire NEDA team will work efficiently to get your needs met ... you are our #1 priority!

New England Dance Academy

165 John Dietsch Square
North Attleboro, MA 02763
(508) 699-4959  •

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