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The Sapphire Staff

Linda's portrait

Linda Stancill
Instructor, Owner

Linda, a Richmond-area native, enjoyed 9 years of ballet as a youth, but knew there would never be a profession in it. Curious about ballroom dancing, she began taking lessons. Soon afterwards she entered and completed a training program for instructors at an independent studio in Richmond, VA, ( ) where she feels fortunate to have had access to many different teachers and perspectives early in her dance career. She has been teaching dance (some part-time and some full-time) for more than 12 years, and still can't get enough… especially of Cha Cha (her favorite dance).

Linda is very thankful for the level of commitment and dedication that her husband, Dail puts into her dance endeavors. Without him, this wonderful place to dance called Sapphire Ballroom would have never existed. Dail job is what lured Linda to the New River Valley to begin with. She has enjoyed working in this area since January of 2001, and committed to bringing the joy of dance to anyone who will try it.

Dail and Linda have now also become parents of a cutie-pie daughter Mallory Jordan, who was born in July 2007.  She and her two younger brothers keep Linda and Dail busy when they are not dancing.


David Verde

David was born in Honduras, grew up Buena Vista, Va., and now lives in Christiansburg with his wife Melisa. David spent six years in the U.S. Air Force where he lived in Charleston, SC with a few short trips sprinkled in to the middle east in support of Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. David has been teaching salsa since 2007. At 18, he fell in love with salsa dancing, followed by bachata and merengue. Since starting at Sapphire, he has developed a passion for the ballroom and swing styles, too.

When David isn't in the ballroom dancing, you can find him at weddings, parties and events in the area as part of his DJ company DMV Entertainment or walking the streets of Southwest Virginia taking photos for his fashion blog for The Roanoke Times. David also enjoys riding his bikes, taking trips to the beach to feed his surfing addiction, and skiing in the winter.

Debbi's portrait

Debbi Sheldon Richey
Director of Marketing

Debbi is a Blacksburg native who, while away at college, fell in love with social dancing. Not wanting to pick a favorite, Debbi tries to dabble in many kinds of social dance including historic, country and western, international, and ballroom.

Debbi has been teaching dance for more than 20 years. She began teaching international folk dance at James Madison University (go Dukes!), where she was Vice President of the JMU Dance Theatre. Her career as a professional dance teacher started when she was drafted as an emergency substitute for a sick two-step instructor. After college, she spent some time teaching with the Southwest Virginia Social Dance Society as well as serving the group as president. Currently, in addition to teaching and learning at Sapphire, she organizes a group called the New River Valley Historic Dancers.

When she's not dancing, Debbi does free-lance graphic and web design as well as designs and sews costumes and ball gowns.

In October '04, Debbi Sheldon became Debbi Sheldon Richey when she married the most wonderful man in the world. There were dances at their wedding from all over the world and dancers from all over the east coast. And in September '06, they brought a new dancer into the world: Colin Patrick (that boy can groove!).

DEnnis's portrait

Dennis Williams

Dennis, a resident of Christiansburg, has over 15 years of dance experience including jazz, tap, hip-hop and clogging! His credits and experience includes musicals with Summer Musical Enterprise as actor, dancer, and choregrapher; Department of Defense Top 40 band as a singer/Dancer; and a former lead singer/dancer of Virginia Tech's New Virginians.

He decided to expand his dance knowledge by taking ballroom dance classes. After taking months of classes, he decided (with a little prodding by Linda) that not only did he enjoy this style of dancing but that he was interested in teaching ballroom dance. He's often asked what his favorite dance is...Hustle?, Rumba?, Salsa? Well, he loves them all including Waltz which describes his thoughtful and romantic character.

When Dennis is not dancing, you can find him weight training at a local gym, running, swimming, or socializing at the local coffee shops.

Jae's Portrait

Jae Chong

Born in Seoul, Korea, Jae moved to the U.S. as a child.  Suddenly immersed in a new culture, having to learn a new language, he struggled to conquer his overall awkwardness.  Mix these obstacles with a lack of rhythm and you can imagine Jae’s aversion to the idea of dance.  Thanks to a high school crush, he overcame that barrier.  He asked her to the homecoming dance and soon after realized the excitement of music and the art of motion to music.  He dabbled in hip-hop and techno styles of dancing through out high school and college.

With a Computer Engineering degree from Virginia Tech firmly in hand, and a job in the near horizon, his roommate encouraged him to try swing dancing for fun.  Though reluctant at first, he has no regrets now! Since then he's been active in the swing dance community in Blacksburg, plus frequently taught and performed with Solely Swing and Southwest Virginia's Social Dance Society (SVSDS).

To broaden his horizon, Jae eventually expanded his repertoire to encompass Ballroom and Latin, where he met Linda for the first time.  He joined the Sapphire team several years later. With his love of dancing and teaching, it was only a matter of time.

When not dancing at Sapphire, SVSDS, or out of town, you can catch Jae indoors reading or tinkering with his computer, or outdoors hiking, skiing, or biking.

Lane's Portrait

Lane Mattox
Instructor, Operations Manager

Lane, a native of Craig County and current resident of Blacksburg, grew up dancing ballet, tap and jazz for 9 years. After studying psychology at Virginia Tech, Lane began to dabble in ballroom after having resisted many invitations from her friends Wayne and Betty.  She quickly realized what she was missing and fell head over heels…Latin heels!  Now, having taught for Sapphire since 2006, Lane is still finding more and more reasons to love dance (especially Rumba and West Coast Swing). She enjoys helping others discover the same passion and satisfaction she found in the world of dancing.

As Operations Manager for Sapphire, Lane not only an asset on the dance floor, she is also your go-to person for scheduling lessons, registering for upcoming classes, buying dance shoes, and more!



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